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Sheridan, Jackson Receive Community Challenge Grants

Posted on 07/17/19

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Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including grants to entities in both Sheridan and Jackson. 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 Wyoming, money was granted to groups in Sheridan and Jackson. The North Main Street Association in Sheridan has been granted $11,770 to fund a new gazebo, picnic table and nine benches along the North Main Trail. The gazebo and handicapped accessible picnic table will be close to the parking lot for easy access.
Nancy Drummond is the Executive Director for the North Main Association, she stated that there will be multigenerational activities at the gazebo welcoming all ages. The benches will provide a safe place to walk and have conversations along the trail.

“We are extremely grateful that AARP chose us for this grant, we cannot thank them enough, “ Drummond says. “It will make our trail system so much more accessible and nicer than it was before.”

The Jackson Hole Community Pathways has also qualified for a $14,440 grant to help make downtown Jackson a more enjoyable space for seniors. Jackson Hole Community Pathways is the jointly-funded program of the Town of Jackson and Teton County government that is responsible for the development and management of non-motorized transportation facilities such as bike lanes, multi-use pathways, and sidewalks.

Brian Schilling, Pathways Coordinator, will partner with Age-Friendly Jackson Hole on a design workshop to solicit input from seniors on downtown walkability, amenities, and activities. Pathways is also coordinating with Cycling Without Age and Teton Adaptive Sports for two Trishaw bikes that will provide rides to seniors around town. Pathways will also have a spot at PARKing days that will allow intergenerational interaction through crafts.

Schilling believes that this grant will “provide a great opportunity for the town to engage seniors in helping to design their community.”

Last year, AARP’s Community Challenge program funded projects in Laramie and Rock Springs. In Laramie, a grant of $20,000 to fund a new fully accessible community garden to increase access to healthy food, multi-generational learning opportunities, and support a culture of health for all people living with mobility and disability challenges. In Rock Springs, a $5,000 grant has funded a mural to be prominently displayed in Downtown Rock Springs, which will depict the hard work and sacrifices of local miners and railroad workers.

In 2017, the AARP Community Challenge awarded 88 grants to communities representing every state and the District of Columbia. Two Wyoming communities – Casper and Jackson – were awarded Community Challenge Grants. In Casper, the grant provided a safer and more convenient bus stop behind the city’s east side Albertsons at 2625 East Second Street. In Jackson, a similar bus stop was replaced in an area which was cluttered with weeds, a broken down vehicle and other trash in an underserved area of the community. A bench was placed on the site and age-friendly signage entices low-income seniors, disabled individuals, and young families to use the bus system.

“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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About AARP

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.

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

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