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AARP Challenge Grant Awarded to Wilmington Renaissance Corp. for Community Garden

Posted on 07/17/19

AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including Wilmington Renaissance Corporation right here in Delaware. 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.

Here in Delaware, the grantee received funds to complete a Community Vegetable Garden at 7th & West Streets in downtown Wilmington. The project is part of their Vacant to Vibrant initiative. The new garden will transform a brownfield site into an open green space where residents will work as a community to grow fresh vegetables. The space will include areas for sitting, standing, socialization, as well as benches, work areas and more.

The Garden fills a need in a neighborhood where few gathering spots exist. The neighborhood also has little access to fresh produce. Raised gardening beds will accommodate older residents as they garden for leisure, fitness and relaxation. The garden will increase livability and health among residents who often become isolated in their homes. A press conference and launch of the garden will take place in November.

The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.

“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country and Wilmington’s neighborhoods are no exception,” said AARP Delaware State Director Lucretia Young. “We are pleased to see this important project receive the Grant money it deserves. It will surely make the surrounding community safer, healthier and more livable.”

“Working alongside community members in the planning for community assets is a core value to our team at WRC”, said Renata B. Kowalczyk, Managing Director of WRC. “We are so pleased that, locally and nationally, AARP recognizes the importance of community spaces where multi-generational families can enjoy healthy activities outside. It is the goal of both organizations to create healthy, livable spaces for all of our residents. Locally this project will strengthen the community bonds and provide fresh produce for families.”

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.

Women working in a community garden

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This story is provided by AARP Delaware. Visit the AARP Delaware page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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