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Project Sparks Ideas for "Age-Friendly" Towns and Cities

AARP's Community Challenge project is looking for ideas about how to make cities more welcoming for people of all ages. (punttim/Pixabay)
AARP's Community Challenge project is looking for ideas about how to make cities more welcoming for people of all ages. (punttim/Pixabay)
June 12, 2017

BOISE, Idaho -- As the large population of baby boomers grows older, making cities friendly for residents all ages has become more important than ever.

The AARP Community Challenge offers grants to projects - to be complete by the end of this year - that help cities become friendlier to people of all ages.

Francoise Cleveland with AARP Idaho said it could include longer traffic signals so older people can safely cross the street, a park that attracts different generations, or anything else that addresses a community's need. She said the purpose of the project is to inspire solutions.

"It's so we can start showing a difference and starting a movement in communities across the nation, and hopefully here in Idaho,” Cleveland said. “So people can point to these projects and say, 'This is what we can do in our state - in our cities, in our communities - to help promote this type of living.'"

The deadline for applications is June 30. Nonprofits and government entities are eligible to apply.

Cleveland said AARP advocates for aging-in-place, and a large component of making older Americans feel welcome in a city is creating a sense of community.

The project stems from a larger, overall vision for cities. More than 170 cities are part of AARP's Network of Age-Friendly Communities - although there are none in Idaho yet.

Cleveland said she hopes the grant opportunity will motivate Idahoans to do more for people of all ages.

"I would really like to see some of these come back to Idaho, because it is going to be a great community builder for communities throughout the United States,” she said.

Grant winners will be announced on August 23. Projects must be completed by November 1.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID