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AARP AARP States North Dakota Livable Communities

Grand Forks, Buxton and Hettinger among 129 AARP Community Challenge Grantees


Hettinger, Buxton and Grand Forks are the recipients of a 2018 AARP Community Challenge grant. A total of $1.3 million will be distributed to fund 129 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.

Nearly 1,600 applications, including 26 from North Dakota, were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its second year.

North Dakota communities receiving grants this year are:

  • Hettinger Area Chamber of Commerce to create a more vibrant public space in the community by purchasing and installing several outdoor games in the community plaza to foster social connections among people of all ages.
  • Buxton Park Board to help support the renovation of a public park to include the addition of playground equipment and a shelter.
  • City of Grand Forks for a pop-up demonstration project at the corners of 3rd and DeMers and 3rd and Kittson to include safety enhancements and other additions to make Grand Forks’ main street safer and more inviting for walkers and bicyclists.

“It’s important for North Dakota communities of all sizes to make enhancements that make their communities more livable for people of all ages. AARP is willing to work with North Dakota communities and we have the tools and resources to help our communities become even better places to live,” said AARP North Dakota State Director Josh Askvig.

Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 5, is designed to achieve on one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, and/or access to public and private transit.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
  • Address other issues of importance for communities.

The full list of grantees can be found at

Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs, said “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. This year, we are proud to fund more projects in more communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.”

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative that helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. AARP staff and volunteers are working with roughly 300 communities across the country, engaging and mobilizing community residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 275 communities and two states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities.  AARP also provides resources and publications to encourage local action such as the Roadmap to Livability and the AARP book-series Where We Live: Communities for All Ages.

To learn more about AARP’s livable communities work in communities across the country and the AARP Community Challenge please visit

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