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AARP AARP States North Dakota Livable Communities

Bowman, Rugby, Grand Forks, Bismarck among 244 AARP Community Challenge Grantees


Bowman, Rugby, Grand Forks and Bismarck are each recipients of a 2021 AARP Community Challenge grant. A total of $3.2 million is being awarded by AARP to fund 244 “quick action” projects across the country to help create more livable communities.

North Dakota communities receiving grants this year are:  

  • Bowman County Development Corporation ($10,000) to further develop Bowman’s Main Street Garden by turning a vacant lot on Main Street into a garden and pocket park, with shade pavers for accessibility, seating, and permanent garden features that encourage an active lifestyle and connect all ages in the community.
  • Geographical Center Historical Society, Rugby ($12,745), to create an “edible park,” which will provide those in need with a source of food at no cost. The project consists of planting 40 fruit trees and shrubs, including pear, apple, plum and peach trees, and honeyberries and raspberries. This green space will also be available for community members and visitors alike to picnic, relax, spend time outdoors and even camp.
  • Grand Forks Public Library ($16,500) to develop an Intergenerational Music Playground to include accessible outdoor musical instruments on Library Circle. The project will bring together people of all ages, cultures, and abilities in an interactive and fun way while inspiring innovation and encouraging curiosity.
  • City of Bismarck ($14,100) to improve roadway safety while revitalizing an underused park near 16th St. and Rosser Ave. The project will bring new vitality to a socially-diverse neighborhood through a temporary roundabout demonstration to improve safety for all roadway users. This will provide the opportunity to gauge community support prior to any permanent implementation. The project also adds additional enhancements to an underused park with art installation, wayfinding, additional seating, and outdoor games.

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. Since 2017, AARP has awarded 15 grants and $95,086 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across North Dakota.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with North Dakota’s grantees as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encouraging promising ideas, and to jumpstart long-term change,” said AARP North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig. “Our goal at AARP North Dakota is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”

All projects are expected to be completed by Nov. 10, and are designed to achieve on 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 full list of grantees and project descriptions can be found at .

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