Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including six recipients in Maine. A total of nearly $1.6 million will be 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. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 4, is designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
- Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by engaging residents and policymakers in accessing, understanding and using data to increase quality of life for all.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
- Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
“Nationwide, the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities supports participating communities in becoming great places for all ages by adopting such features as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities,” said Lori Parham. “Here in Maine, we are dedicated to advancing well-designed, livable communities to promote community well-being and sustained economic growth. Municipalities throughout Maine – large and small – recognize that age-friendly communities are better places for all ages. We are thrilled that Maine was well represented in the National Challenge Grant competition.” The following is a list of the Maine grantees:
Mount Vernon Community Partnership Corporation – To help residents age in place, this project will build a Tool Library to provide easy access to tools particularly for older adults in the community and volunteers who offer to come help to do a job when older adults feel unsure or unable to complete it on their own.
Healthy Peninsula, Blue Hill – This project will support the development of a Traveling Tool Table, a collection of useful, affordable devices to help older people remain independent. These tool tables will be launched at local libraries which are some of the most popular gathering places in the community.
Aging Well in Waldo County – This project will help create and enhance two libraries in the community by making repairs, beautifying the spaces and increasing accessibility. Portland Trails – This project will upgrade a rustic trail in an urban greenspace into a trail that is accessible to wheelchairs and people of all abilities and improve access to walking, cycling options and the areas natural beauty.
City of Presque Isle – The improvements to the Bike & Walking Trail will allow for increased utilization of the paved, lit trail, increase movement and health, as well as increase opportunities for community member engagement.
Old Orchard Beach Community Friendly Connection – This project will contribute to the community’s efforts to revitalize and re-energize an entire block by engaging the neighborhood in a collaborative effort to clean up, restore, and refresh Atlantic Courts Park and Washington Avenue district, including a demonstration of walkable sidewalks.
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 all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
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.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’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.