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Grants Awarded to Idaho Projects to Make Cities 'More Livable'

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A project to bring block parties to Pocatello neighborhoods is among the winners of the AARP Community Challenge grant program. (veganstraightedge/Flickr)
A project to bring block parties to Pocatello neighborhoods is among the winners of the AARP Community Challenge grant program. (veganstraightedge/Flickr)
July 25, 2018

CALDWELL, Idaho – Projects in three Idaho communities are winners of grants from the 2018 AARP Community Challenge program.

The Community Challenge awards funding for projects that make cities more livable for people of all ages. Winners include Destination Caldwell, to bring oversized games downtown to encourage social engagement; the town of Kamiah, where the grant will help outfit its new community center; and NeighborhoodWorks Pocatello, which will organize a mobile "Block Party Trailer" to travel to neighborhoods in that city.

"They would not have been able to do those projects without this funding," said Lupe Wissel, director of AARP Idaho. "Idaho really knows how to stretch that dollar and make it really work for them. So, the fact that we were able to get three different projects funded is phenomenal for the state."

In total, $1.3 million will be distributed to 129 projects across the country. Projects were selected partly for their ability to be quickly organized, and must be completed by Nov. 5.

Wissel said these projects address social isolation, which is important because isolation can affect people's health.

"Unless you have someone that you know, unless you know the community, unless you have a place to go, unless you feel that you could be part of that community, you're going to stay home," Wissel said. "and the more you stay home, the more friends you lose, the more you become isolated."

Grant dollars could go furthest in Kamiah, which was lacking community spaces before a benefactor donated land. Wissel said the townspeople came together to build a new space, but didn't have the money to decorate it once it was completed. She said the Community Challenge grant exceeded the amount the town was seeking for the project.

The list of Community Challenge grantees is online at aarp.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID