The City of College Place has been named a recipient of a 2021 AARP Community Challenge grant, one of three grantees selected in Washington State.
The $18,350 grant will be used to install free, high-speed community Wi-Fi hotspots at four key areas to connect populations lacking reliable internet access at home. Access to high-speed internet is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Unfortunately, the high-speed internet many need is not available where they live, and this holds them back.
“The AARP Challenge Grant is allowing the City to install free Wi-Fi at city parks which will expand digital access to all and make the city parks a true playground for all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds,” remarked Mike Rizzitiello, City Administrator for College Place.
This project is part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.2 million awarded among 244 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement quick-action projects to promote livable communities by improving housing, transportation, public spaces, civic engagement, and connection with family, friends, and neighbors with an emphasis on the needs of the 50-plus. Many of this year’s awards support revitalizing communities adversely impacted by the pandemic and include a focus on diversity, inclusion, and disparities.
All projects are expected to be completed by November 10, 2021, and are designed to achieve 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 by bringing together residents and local leaders to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion.
- Ensure a focus on diversity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community.
- Support local recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by emphasizing economic development, improvements to public spaces, and transportation services.
“We are incredibly excited to support the City of College Place as they work to make immediate improvements to access high-speed internet, a promising idea that jumpstarts long-term change,” shared Amanda Frame, AARP Washington Outreach Director “Our goal at AARP Washington is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”
Other Washington State grantees include Food is Free Tacoma and The Friends of the Snohomish Library. The 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 supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages. Since 2017, AARP Washington has awarded fifteen grants and $127,760 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state. View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at www.aarp.org/livable.