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Ashland, WI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: A survey showed residents in Ashland wanted more outdoor seating in the city's downtown. As part of larger efforts to revitalize the commercial district the City worked with Ashland Main Street to install decorative benches. The City engaged teams of artists -- including college students and staff from the local food co-op -- to design artwork for the seating. Then, with the help of volunteers, project organizers then installed one bench on every block of Ashland's nine-block commercial area. Each depicts imagery related to the community's identity, including scenes from local history or ecology. Paying homage to nearby Lake Superior, several benches have a water theme. Project organizers say Ashland is known as the mural capital of Wisconsin, and the benches work with other public art installations to draw people to visit downtown.

Greeley, IA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project supported the City of Greeley's efforts to create a downtown corridor. The placemaking effort involved adding decorative light poles along State Highway 38.

Salem, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project turned an unused outdoor area between two historical glass greenhouses into an accessible space for educational programs on sustainability, multigenerational gardening and social engagement.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

North Hero, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: This project installed a word garden, which features words etched into rocks. The decorative rocks complement raised beds in an existing garden.

Swanton, VT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: As part of efforts to redevelop its downtown, the Village of Swanton has worked to makes streets more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. To build community support, the Village staged a one-day traffic calming demonstration. Using hay bales and planters, the community created a barrier to separate the village's parking area from travel lanes, which successfully slowed down vehicle traffic. They also created bump-outs to shorten the distance needed to cross the street and make pedestrians more visible to passing drivers. During the pop-up, residents had the opportunity to make suggestions for long-term streetscape improvements. Following the demonstration, the Village planted trees along busy streets as a traffic calming measure. The Village also established a task force to look at other opportunities for future demonstration projects to test street infrastructure improvements.

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