AARP has selected three Nebraska organizations to receive 2020 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest number of grantees to date with more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Be sure to watch our video interviews below with community leaders about their projects.
Here in Nebraska, projects funded include:
- NeighborWorks, Lincoln. The $24,300 grant will support a community garden special project to build lasting connections in an attractive space where diverse nearby residents can grow their own food. The project on a lot at 14th and D Streets involves the planting of garden beds and the installation of entrance structures, landscaping, benches and poles for stringed lights. Watch our dialogue with NeighborWorks.
- City of Hebron. The $16,800 grant for the Thayer County Walking Coalition project will improve access to over two miles of walking trails by implementing solar lighting in dark areas. The lighting will extend the hours residents can use the trail safely, increase capacity for physical activity and improve access to key community locations. In 2017, Hebron received its first AARP Community Challenge grant for signage and benches to support trail access for older adults and provide resting places in designated scenic areas. Listen to our conversation with Kurk Weidel of Hebron.
- Haigler Community Foundation, Haigler. The $5,000 grant will help fund a restroom in the Haigler Cornerstone Museum that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new restroom will pave the way for the community to work with the State of Nebraska to designate the Haigler Museum Complex on Highway 34 as a state tourist visitor center. The complex includes the Cornerstone Museum, One Room Country School House Museum, and Conoco Station Museum. Learn more about the project from LaNeta Carlock with the Haigler Community Foundation.
“We are incredibly proud to partner with Nebraska’s grantees as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change,” shared Todd Stubbendieck, state director of AARP Nebraska. “Our goal is to support the efforts of our Nebraska communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities and the coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of this work.”
All projects are expected to be completed by December 18, 2020, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, and access a wider range of transportation choices.
- Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
- Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
- Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services, and civic life.
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. View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge and view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Nebraska’s livable communities work at www.aarp.org/livable.