Milestone Achieved as Maine’s 50th Community – Including the State’s First County – Joins AARP Age-Friendly Network
Fifty Communities Commit to Livable, Age-Friendly Ideals
2018 Community Challenge Launched
PORTLAND: With the recent additions of Waldo County, Caribou, and Ogunquit, Maine, AARP Maine today announced that a total of 50 communities in the state have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities (NAFC). Maine continues to lead the nation in the number of towns, large and small, that are making a difference in the lives of residents of all ages through creative and cooperative accomplishments.
“We are thrilled that a record-breaking number of Maine communities are committed to advancing age-friendly initiatives that encourage residents to remain active and socially engaged,” stated Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities helps participating communities become great places for all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities. Maine’s dedication to well-designed, livable communities that promote health and sustain economic growth is truly inspiring.”
The momentum to embrace a livable community concept continues to grow in 2018. In 2017, Maine saw a remarkable surge in the efforts of towns and neighborhoods to advance age-friendly initiatives. Maine has consistently led the country in the number of NAFC participants in large part due to the effective collaborations of the town, businesses, residents and local non-profits.
“It is so important to find out from each community what it is they want and what services they need,” explained Jean Saunders, Chair of the Saco Age-Friendly Committee. Saco is an example of a community that has made great inroads in local efforts through the participation of students in their action plan. “We know our older residents and millennials basically want the same things,” stated Saunders. “We want to work continuously to bring the different generations together to learn from each other.”
Waldo County Sheriff, Jeffrey Trafton, was instrumental in pushing for the state’s first county to join the NAFC. “I am very proud that Waldo is the first Maine county to join the Network and I am proud of our County Commissioners who agreed to make this happen,” he explained. “In the oldest state in the nation, combining our efforts to help people stay safely in their own homes has never been so important. I’ve been active in our local community policing initiatives for many years and by combining efforts with the Network we can accelerate many good things for our residents. It’s the perfect marriage.”
In addition, AARP is now accepting applications for the 2018 Community Challenge grant program to fund “quick-action” projects that spark change in local communities. The grant program, which is now in its second year, is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which aims to make communities great places to live for everyone.
The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities and other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Projects may range in scale from small, short-term activities costing hundreds of dollars to larger projects with budgets of a few thousand dollars. The program will accept applications in the following categories for 2018:
- delivering a range of transportation and connectivity options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements
- creating vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and improve access to amenities
- supporting the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options
- other innovative projects to improve the community
“The AARP Community Challenge Program is aimed at catalyzing change and improving the quality of life for people of all ages in communities nationwide,” said Parham. “There are tremendous opportunities for positive change in communities across Maine and we encourage eligible entities to apply for these quick-action grants to make their communities more livable for all.”
For a complete list of participating communities in the NAFC in Maine and across the country, go to http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/network-age-friendly-communities/info-2014/member-list.html
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.