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How the AARP is using $3.4 million to improve hundreds of communities for older Americans

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Across the country—from Moro, Oregon, to Chelmsford, Massachusetts—projects are being built that aim to make life better for older adults. They include park improvements and new benches, better bus stations, and new library kiosks. But unlike typical community improvement projects that might take years to materialize, these projects are being fully built within six months.

[Photo: courtesy City of Richardson, Texas (2019)]The accelerated timeline is a stipulation behind the funding, which comes from AARP, the nonprofit that advocates for people ages 50 and older. The organization’s Community Challenge grant program has just awarded $3.4 million to 260 projects around the country. The projects must be built by the end of November. The hope is that quick implementation will translate into more substantial, long-term support for these initiatives.

One project in Silver City, New Mexico, seeks to convert a dead-end street into a gathering place for residents and provide a link between the city’s downtown and a public park. A project in St. Louis will revive a dilapidated transit stop. In the town of Moro, Oregon, a set of preapproved plans for small accessory dwelling units—sometimes known as granny flats—will be made freely available.

This year’s grantees join more than 800 projects funded........

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