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Wash. Projects Receive Grants to Make Communities More Livable

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A project in north Seattle has been awarded a grant to make neighborhoods safer and more pedestrian-friendly. (Spotmatik/iStock)
A project in north Seattle has been awarded a grant to make neighborhoods safer and more pedestrian-friendly. (Spotmatik/iStock)
 By Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA - Producer, Contact
August 9, 2018

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. – Two projects in Washington state have been selected for the 2018 AARP Community Challenge grant program.

The Community Challenge, now in its second year, awards funding for projects that make cities more livable for people of all ages.

The Seattle Neighborhood Greenways project is helping to make an area of north Seattle more walkable, and Kitsap County is using the grant to renovate a community space for the region's tiny home village.

Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido says the project is helping folks recognize they have neighbors in need and is also bringing community members together.

"It's helped build a sense of community across several layers of our community and so that we're building community in a different sense than we had before and it's really fabulous," Garrido states.

The community room will provide space for village members to cook and participate in social activities such as education and wellness classes.

The pilot community will have about 14 tiny homes. The village is a project of Homes for All, a Kitsap County coalition of government agencies, the faith community and businesses to provide tiny homes to residents in need.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Director Gordon Padelford says his organization is looking for cheap solutions for making neighborhoods pedestrian friendly. He says at the current rate of funding, it would take Seattle 300 years to build out all of its sidewalks.

He adds that neighborhoods without sidewalks can be intimidating for children and that older Washington pedestrians are disproportionately affected by collisions with cars.

The greenways project will calm traffic on neighborhood streets through speed humps, diverters and other inexpensive solutions.

"Thereby creating a safe enough neighborhood that folks feel like they can walk in and garden in the front yard and let their kids go to the neighbor's house and play and all that sort of thing that we want to see," Padelford explains.

Amanda Frame, associate director of community outreach for AARP Washington, says work on these projects already is under way.

"This is just allowing both of these particular projects to be able to leverage funding from AARP to really act as a catalyst to improve what they're already working on and taking quick-action steps to be able to build momentum within the community," she explains.

In total, AARP will distribute $1.3 million dollars to 129 projects across the country. Projects must be completed by Nov. 5.

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