Projects to beautify Waikiki by creating a community park, improve sidewalks and increase pedestrian safety, and for “prescriptions” for bikeshare in Kailua-Kona received 2019 AARP Community Challenge Grants, AARP Livable Communities announced.
The Hawai‘i grants are part of nearly $1.6 million being distributed to fund 159 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.
Nearly 1,700 applications were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its third year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 4, is designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
- Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by engaging residents and policymakers in accessing, understanding and using data to increase quality of life for all.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
- Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
In Hawai‘i, the grantees are:
· The Rotary Club of Honolulu and fiscal sponsor Rotary District 5000 Foundation to fabricate and install seating for their Centennial Park project to create a pocket park amid Waikiki’s high-rises on vacant land on Aloha Drive between Royal Hawaiian and Seaside Avenues. ($10,000)
· Waikiki Community Center to beautify Waikiki sidewalks by painting utility boxes with cultural images and plant planter boxes on selected streets. The Walk Safe Waikiki project will also increase public awareness and safety for visitors and residents with partners Age Friendly Honolulu, and Kapiolani Community College Service & Sustainability Learning. ($13,500)
· PATH – Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii to support the RxBike program at the West Hawaii Community Health Center. The grant will allow staff to write “prescriptions” for bicycle exercise to Diabetes Prevention Program and other patients through Kona Bikeshare at a reduced rate of $50 a year, as compared to the regular $25 a month dues. The RxBike program also provides free helmets, group rides and bike safety lessons. ($5,400)
“AARP Hawaii is really pleased that we are able to support local projects that make our communities better place to live for everyone,” said Jackie Boland, AARP Hawai‘i Director of Outreach. “It’s our hope that by funding these projects, we will encourage other nonprofits to come up with more innovative ways to help improve their own communities.”
The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.
“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country who hear from mayors, community leaders and local residents about the value of getting quick wins to create long-term change. We developed the Community Challenge grant program to answer that call and help build momentum for more livable communities nationwide,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs. “This year, we are proud to fund more projects in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. As part of this, AARP staff and volunteers are working across the country, engaging and mobilizing residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 381 communities and four states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.