NH Groups Receive Grants to Make Communities More "Livable"
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
Four projects in New Hampshire have been awarded grants from AARP to make communities more livable, especially for older residents.
Types of projects considered for the Community Challenge grants are those that improve public spaces, transportation, housing, digital access and civic engagement, to name a few - and they must be completed by Nov. 30.
Ashley Davis, associate state director for outreach and advocacy at AARP New Hampshire, said older people or folks with mobility issues often struggle to access those community services - and it sometimes takes a long time to change that.
"But quick actions can really be the spark for sort of long-term progress," she said, "as well as attracting other funding, helping communities to overcome barriers, and especially increasing awareness of age friendly and livability."
The New Hampshire projects include a covered pavilion with benches to provide a shaded gathering place in Center Ossipee; a covered bench with raised-bed gardens and an information kiosk in Hillsborough; an electric "trishaw" for rides on the Northern Rail Trail in Lebanon; and a fully accessible dog park and community garden in Newport.
The Hillsborough Community Center Project aims to serve as a place where residents of all ages can find resources for health, education and well-being. However, Becky Johnson, its executive director, noted that it's still in the fundraising stage.
"For Hillsborough, I think the seniors are struggling to find a place to unite and come together and socialize," she said. "That was one of the reasons we're building the center; we want to provide a space for them. But this in the interim will provide them a nice, safe place to sit and socialize and rest."
Friends of the Northern Rail Trail, also receiving a grant, has become an affiliate chapter of Cycling Without Age, which connects volunteer cyclists with seniors and people with mobility issues, according to board member Amy Chan. They've been working with Lebanon Recreation and Parks on the initiative. Chan said there are so many lakes, rivers, bridges and more to see on the trail.
"Many of the seniors that we will be serving actually remember the railroad going through this land," she said, "and so, what better way to preserve railroad history than to give the seniors a chance to share their stories and their memories with a younger generation, while enjoying the trail together?"
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