AARP Kansas announced that the Coffeyville Area Community Foundation is one of 159 communities across the country to receive an AARP Community Challenge Grant. The AARP Community Challenge grant program awarded a total of nearly $1.6 million for “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.
The grant money award to the Coffeyville Area Community Foundation will be used for its WALK the BLOCK initiative which makes use of a newly resurfaced and undiscovered sidewalk in a formerly blighted neighborhood and transforms it into a 2.5 mile fitness tour which will be a major community focal point. WALK the BLOCK invites all residents and visitors to experience the historic "9th Street Neighborhood" as it is being revitalized. Designed with an eye toward seniors, walkers can track their progress on the route using embedded bronze sidewalk distance markers located on each block to show their progress. And they can safely cross streets using newly painted, handicapped accessible crosswalks at each block.
“AARP Kansas works to support this effort and is excited to be able to provide funding through the AARP Community Challenge grant program, now in its third year,” said AARP Kansas State Director Dr. Maren Turner. “After funding 217 projects between 2017 and 2018, AARP has increased its investment to nearly $1.6 million for 159 projects this year. We are so pleased that the Coffeyville Walk the Block! Program was selected as one of them.”
"The City of Coffeyville has done a fantastic job of planning and resurfacing 9th Street & sidewalks giving us the opportunity to create a "WALK the BLOCK" initiative for improved health for people by walking the blocks,” said Coffeyville Area Community Foundation Executive Director Janie DeVore Gillis. “"Many thanks to Peggy Steele, grant project coordinator, who created the idea to benefit many in our community."
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.
“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.
The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.