AARP Oklahoma presented a $5,000 honorary check to the McAlester City Council during its September 24 meeting, celebrating the community’s AARP Community Challenge grant recognition.
AARP Community Challenge dollars will help develop a previously underutilized parking lot at 2nd and Chickasaw St. in McAlester’s Downtown Historic District. The grant will include purchase and installation of flexible and adaptable ADA-accessible tables and seating options, trash receptacles and a water fountain with pet accessibility. The grant will also allow for the installation of bike racks which promotes healthy transportation options. The City of McAlester will implement an observation and interview program to track citizen behavior and feedback as a result of the new park installation.
The grant project is currently underway and has a planned completion date of November.
“The AARP Community Challenge and this park funding facilitate an innovative opportunity for residents of all ages to enjoy the livability of our community while building momentum for growth in McAlester,” said Joe Ann Vermillion, AARP state volunteer director.
The City of McAlester grant is among nearly $1.6 million 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.
Other Oklahoma communities receiving AARP Community Challenge funding in 2019 include Elk City and the Delaware Nation. A 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.