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AARP Community Challenge Project Examples

For your inspiration, a look at some of the efforts we funded in 2017

For the first-ever AARP Community Challenge, AARP received almost 1,200 applications, resulting in a highly competitive selection process. Below, organized by category, are examples of the projects we funded. 

AARP Community Challenge

1. CATEGORY GOAL: Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions to increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, and access to public and private transit.

  • Chino Valley, Arizona: Yavapai Regional Transit Inc.
    The grant was used to install a much-needed ADA-compliant pad and walkway at a transit station.

  • West Sacramento, California: City of West Sacramento
    The grant was used to improve pedestrian safety by adjusting signal timing and installing crossing buttons near senior-citizen affordable housing.

  • Dover, Delaware: City of Dover
    By placing signage along walking paths to promote the reopening of a long-blocked trail, former users learned they could return and new users discovered an available walking destination.

  • St. Paul, Minnesota: Department of Public Works
    The city made crosswalks more visible to roadway users by adding art and creative features to them and installed, for demonstration purposes, temporary pedestrian safety measures to improve walkability.

  • Newburgh, New York: City of Newburgh
    A demonstration project was held on Lake and Washington streets as part of the city and Orange County’s Complete Streets program for Lake Street.

  • Orange County, North Carolina: Orange County Department on Aging
    Working in cooperation with the county’s public transportation department, the grant is improving bus ridership in the more rural parts of northern Orange County where few stops have adequate shelters, benches or even flat areas for waiting passengers.

2. CATEGORY GOAL: Support the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options

  • Santa Cruz, California: Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay
    The grant helped older, low-income homeowners build ADA-compliant accessory dwelling units (ADUs) so they can age in place while earning rental income with the addition of an affordable rental unit.
  • Eugene, Oregon: SquareOne Villages
    The funds were used for construction materials to complete an ADA-compliant tiny home in Emerald Village Eugene, an affordable housing community of 22 tiny houses.

  • Farmville, Virginia: Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity
    The funding supported a mobile repair trailer for storing and transporting home improvement materials — including a pressure washer, ladders, hand tools and paint supplies — for making safety improvements to homes in need of significant repairs.

  • Bethel, Maine: Bethel Area Age-Friendly
    The grant was used to construct a display and tool kit featuring accessories that make homes safer and help prevent falls.

3. CATEGORY GOAL: Create vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.

  • Columbia, South Carolina: City of Columbia
    The grant funded seating along Main Street, which attracts a highly active pedestrian population and hosts events that draw people from the surrounding region.

  • Macon, Georgia: South Macon Arts Revitalization Technology, Inc.
    Chess tables and Connect games were added next to an area that will be the site of a community center as a way for older and younger residents to spend time together.

  • Gulfport, Mississippi: City of Gulfport
    The grant was used to create a "Bark Park" on an acre of property at the new Brickyard Bayou Park, located in a part of the city that was devastated during Hurricane Katrina and is being redeveloped as a multi-use park.

  • Boise, Idaho: Idaho Smart Growth
    A pop-up plaza was constructed to demonstrate the benefits of public gathering places.

  • Carlisle, Iowa: City of Carlisle
    The city purchased and installed benches, planters, bicycle racks, and banner-sign mounts for its historic downtown and trail areas.

  • Lexington, Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
    ADA-accessible benches were placed along a city trail and positioned in a U-shaped conversational style to foster greater social interaction and better enable visitors to talk to and hear one another.

  • Wayne, Michigan: Wayne Ripple Effect
    An underutilized alleyway owned by the city was transformed into a community gathering and events space.

  • Oconomowoc, Wisconsin: City of Oconomowoc
    The funds were used to turn an alleyway into a corridor to connect the Main Street with a nearby lake.

  • Washington, D.C.: Van Ness Main Street
    A plaza in the Van Ness area was transformed and made more usable through landscaping, public art and seating.


  • Seattle, Washington: City of Seattle
    The city used the grant to help host a hackathon called "A City for All" in September 2017 to coincide with the National Day for Civic Hacking.

  • Truth or Consequences, New Mexico: Main Street Truth or Consequences
    The grant was used to encourage people to walk by improving the walkability of the downtown and creating a “Walk Downtown” outreach program.

AARP Community Challenge Resources

Go to the AARP Community Challenge Home

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Page published September 2017 | Updated March 2018