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Charleston, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The American College of the Building Arts installed benches and a new pergola to create a multigenerational gathering space at the Community's Hope Impact Center, a local community center. The College saw the installation process as an opportunity for education, holding workshops on masonry where volunteers helped lay bricks for the space's walkway. With a goal of preserving, enriching and educating about architectural heritage, the organization trains artisans in traditional building crafts, such as carpentry and forging architectural iron. It was founded in the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which damaged or destroyed much of coastal South Carolina's historic architecture.

Gastonia, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: The Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services beautified a public space near Gastonia's Schiele Museum and the town's library. To encourage residents to get out and walk, the Department added a sidewalk mural at the library, which depicts astronauts on a spacewalk. Museum staff installed an outdoor exhibit about the Solar System. In addition, project organizers commissioned a local metalworks shop to create benches with a celestial theme. Other placemaking enhancements included adding planters and new graphic designs to adorn the nearby transit shelter, as well an amenity map display to help visitors locate nearby trails and greenspace.

Springfield, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: In the 1980s, many businesses moved out of Springfield's downtown. But in recent years, a new generation of entrepreneurs, artists and gig workers have begun repopulating the city's main commercial district. In light of the area's new vibrancy, the Commercial Street Community Improvement District is working to market the area and tell its story. The CID created a series of parklets with outdoor seating to give visitors a space to socialize and relax. They also commissioned a local artist to create a mural, using community feedback to inform the final design. The mural fits within a larger street art project. CID organizers say they hope these improvements will help the community develop a renewed sense of place.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Wellsburg, WV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: To support community health and wellness, this project resurfaced two new pickleball courts and enhanced the area with new fencing, paddle racks and a bulletin board to post tournament results.

Wellsburg, WV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project revitalized the Town Square by leveling brick pavers and installing tables, chairs, umbrellas and trash cans, as well as murals on the walls and colorful paint on crosswalks.

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