Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including four recipients right here in Massachusetts. A total of nearly $1.6 million will be 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. After funding 217 projects between 2017 and 2018, AARP has increased its investment to nearly $1.6 million for 159 projects this 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.
Here in Massachusetts, grantees include:
· The Town of Belchertown was granted $10,000 to install wayfinding signage and a kiosk with information in braille for the Lake Wallace Sensory Trail.
· The City of Chelsea was awarded $8,750 for the Division Street Alley Project to create a safe corridor to connect pedestrians and cyclists to the library, senior center, a bus stop, and a grocery store.
· The City of Boston was granted $10,000 to install three to five benches along Main Streets in 20 neighborhoods.
· Beyond the Walls, Inc. of Lynn was granted $16,000 for the installation of four parklets and public art installations for their annual art festival.
Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts State Director, praised the quality of projects proposed for the 2019 AARP Community Challenge. “AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative aims to make our communities great places to live for everyone. The winning Community Challenge projects will make long-lasting, positive and impactful change.”
“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 full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.
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.