Vinita, Okla., August 21, 2018 -- Downtown Vinita will soon be more pedestrian-friendly, thanks to a $25,000 grant from AARP and its 2018 Community Challenge grant program.
The Vinita City Council and Vinita city officials were presented with an honorary check for the grant by AARP Oklahoma during the August 21 city council meeting.
AARP Community Grant Challenge dollars will fund a downtown Vinita revitalization project, which significantly improves the safety and walkability of the community's historic Route 66 Main Street area.
The City of Vinita was selected as an AARP Community Challenge grant recipient because of their innovative approach to revitalize a vital corridor in the downtown Vinita area. Community Grant Challenge funding will allow the City of Vinita to repurpose an alley 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 City of Vinita downtown grant project is currently underway and has a planned completion date of November.
Brian Prince, City of Vinita city clerk, stated that the City of Vinita is excited to work with AARP, noting, “AARP brought to our table ways to promote our walkability and bikeability, as well as to create an off-street public gathering space. Vinita has many advantages with its central location of downtown, planned parks and school locations, making our community an excellent choice for this grant.”
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 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, and delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations. 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.