AARP IA Grant Transforms Town's Wellness Plan
Thursday, August 24, 2023
A Community Challenge grant from AARP Iowa is making the town of Graettinger more senior friendly.
Eight Iowa communities received the grants, but perhaps none is as transformative as the one in the tiny northwest Iowa town. Most of this year's grant recipients were in rural areas, with projects focused on enhancing community livability.
It will be especially noticeable in Graettinger, population 840, which received a $20,000 dollar grant from AARP Iowa to build pickleball courts and improve walking trails.
Kara Currans, city clerk of Graettinger, said it is a big grant for the small community, and will go a long way to helping seniors be more active and healthy.
"We've got about 1.2 miles worth of walking trails that we're going to go ahead and complete so we can take wheelchairs, walkers on them," Currans outlined. "You know, family kind of stuff. It's going to go ahead and allow my seniors to get more fit."
Among the grants, five went to public libraries to improve accessibility, outdoor spaces and help seniors become more comfortable with technology. In Epworth, American Legion Post 650 will build a Veteran's memorial.
In Graettinger, a town where Currans noted everyone knows your name, the grant is doing more than helping build exercise infrastructure. It is also helping strengthen community engagement and bolstering a sense of local pride in what it provides for its residents, despite being small.
"It's an old town here," Graettinger pointed out. "We've got the oldest celebration here in Iowa, our Labor Day celebration. We all come together and do parades, carnivals, street dances, you know, that kind of good stuff here. So, AARP allowing us to develop this area, it really kind of brings the town together. "
In all, the eight Iowa communities received more than $57,000 dollars in AARP Community Challenge grants, among the largest group of grantees in the program's history.
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