For the fifth annual AARP Community Challenge, AARP received more than 3,500 applications from nonprofits and government entities, resulting in a highly competitive selection process.
Nearly $3.2 million is being distributed to fund 244 quick-action projects across the country, helping urban, rural and suburban communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.
Massachusetts communities brought home four of the awardees of the nationwide program, which are listed below.
- Boston: City of Boston
The Boston Public Library will add locations to its free, 24-hour Outdoor Wi-Fi Program so people can access high-speed internet services through workstations located outside of library buildings.
- Boston: Urban Farming Institute of Boston
The institute will build and install raised “Grow Boxes” for residents hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic so they can grow fresh, healthy food.
- Lynn: City of Lynn
The funded project will improve public access and amenities and provide arts and cultural programming at two downtown public spaces, enabling safe outdoor gatherings for the community’s diverse population of older adults.
- Middlesex County: Clear Path for Veterans New England
Challenge funds will help in the creation of Clear Path’s Memorial Courtyard, which will serve as an outdoor space “where Veterans, families, and the general public can reflect, remember and enjoy the enduring spirit of the United States Military.”
Overall, the winning projects are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant Public Places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other community amenities.
- Ensure a focus on Diversity and Inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community
- Deliver a range of Transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
- Support local recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic with an emphasis on economic development, improvements to public spaces and transportation services
- Encourage the development of a range of Housing options to increase the availability of accessible and affordable choices
- Increase Civic Engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion
- Implement Other Community Improvements that respond to local needs