AARP West Virginia has announced four (4) state winners for the AARP Community Challenge, aiming to create change and improve quality of life at the community-level.
Nationally, AARP Community Challenge grants totaling $3.4 million have been awarded to 260 organizations – the largest group of grantees to date – to support projects that make communities livable for people of all ages. Each project was partially or fully funded through the AARP Community Challenge grant and is set to be completed by November 30, 2022.
West Virginia community projects receiving 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant Awards include:
Wellsburg Lions Club | City of Wellsburg Parks Enhancements
Grant funds will be used to construct two new pickleball courts and related amenities to support recreation and wellness activities, including installation of wheelchair accessible picnic tables near the new courts. Project partners include the Brooke County Senior Center, Wellsburg Pickleball Club and Wellsburg Friends of Parks.
Wellsburg Urban Renewal Authority | Town Square Improvements
Grant funds will be used to restore and level existing brick pavers on Historic Town Square, and add tables, chairs, umbrellas and trash receptacles to the downtown area. Other planned enhancements include artistic crosswalks and public art displays to be completed by the Brooke High School Art Club. Project partners include the City of Wellsburg, Downtown Wellsburg Group, Brooke County AARP Chapter and Brooke High School.
Town of Durbin | Sidewalk and Lighting Enhancements
Grant funds will be used to replace streetlights and repair sidewalks, to improve safety, walkability and accessibility for pedestrian users of all ages.
City of Grafton | Three Bridges Loop Trail Enhancements
Grant funds will be used to install additional seating benches and signage along the Three Bridges Loop walking trail, supplementing investments by the City of Grafton and Taylor County Commission for the community wellness project. In addition to the city and county, project partners include the Grafton Rotary Club.
Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital access; and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and over.
All grant funded projects 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.
- Ensure a focus on diversity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community.
- Support communities’ efforts to build engagement and leverage funding available under new federal programs through laws including the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and more.
- Increase Civic Engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion.
- Other community improvements, including Health Services, Community Development, and Coronavirus Pandemic Recovery.
“We are incredibly excited to support these organizations and local governmental, civic and volunteer leaders as they work to make immediate improvements, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change in the Mountain State,” shared AARP West Virginia State Director Gaylene Miller. “Our goal at AARP West Virginia is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”
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 West Virginia has awarded 16 grants totaling nearly $150,000 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.
AARP WV Media Contact: Tom Hunter, 304-340-4605, email@example.com