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Wanted: Quick-Action Livability Community Projects in Ohio

The Village of McComb used grant money from the AARP Community Challenge to install benches on walking paths around a reservoir. (Village of McComb)
The Village of McComb used grant money from the AARP Community Challenge to install benches on walking paths around a reservoir. (Village of McComb)
April 25, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio - With the nation facing an aging population, many communities are examining ways to become places where people of all ages can thrive. Cities and towns in Ohio that are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on livability projects have an opportunity to get some financial help.

Ken Davis, manager of outreach and volunteer engagement for AARP Ohio, said the AARP Community Challenge is offering grants for innovative improvement ideas that will allow all residents to make the most of where they live.

"The ultimate vision is for a future in which U.S. communities - whether it's urban, suburban or rural - are communities for all," he said. "I like to think of it as aging in place. We want to make it so that people as they age can continue to stay where they are."

Projects are wanted that help create vibrant public places, improve transportation and mobility and support affordable, accessible housing. Davis said no project is too big or too small, but there is a catch: projects must be completed by Nov. 5, and applications are due by May 16.

This is the second year for the challenge, and in 2017, two Ohio communities were among the 80 winners. The village of McComb received $20,000 to make age-friendly improvements to the community park. Council member Carol Cary said the village added play equipment that can be used by older adults and those with disabilities, as well as walking paths and water fountains.

"It just makes it nice for everyone," she said, "and we got benches put around the reservoir so people, when they walk around the reservoir, can sit down and take a breather and look out over the countryside or look over the water and watch the ball games from up there."

Oxford Seniors in southwest Ohio, another winner, received nearly $1,400 to help create and distribute a new resource guide for older adults in the community.

More information is online at AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH