Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2018 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including a recipient right here in Oklahoma. The City of Vinita has been awarded $25,000 to fund an innovative downtown-area revitalization project, which greatly improves the safety and walkability of their historic Route 66 Main Street area.
The City of Vinita grant is among a total of $1.3 million that 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 were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its second year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 5, is designed to achieve on one or more of the following outcomes:
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, and/or access to public and private transit.
- Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
- Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
- Address other issues of importance for communities.
The City of Vinita was selected as an AARP Community Challenge grant recipient because of their innovative approach to revitalize a key corridor in the downtown Vinita area. Community Grant Challenge funding will allow the City of Vinita to repurpose an alley in downtown near Wilson Street, which will eliminate vehicle traffic and facilitate a safe walk and bike pathway in a high traffic area. The installation of permanent ADA-compliant benches and tables will offer a comfortable resting place and invite greater community engagement through outside dining for nearby eateries on Main Street and during community events. Lighting and public art will be installed to create a safe and inviting ambiance for all ages.
“Our goal is to make all neighborhoods, communities, cities and rural areas great places for people of all ages and life stages,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. “The City of Vinita’s innovative approach to revitalize their downtown area and historic Route 66 corridor truly embodies our Livable Communities philosophy. We applaud their efforts to create a desirable public space to make their community a safer place to walk and bike, while preserving the community’s historic buildings and cultural assets.”
The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.
“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 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 www.aarp.org/livable.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.