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Challenge Seeks to Fund Projects That Make Communities More Livable

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Bismarck developed a pop-up bike pathway last year with a grant from AARP's Community Challenge. (Angie Gray Photography)
Bismarck developed a pop-up bike pathway last year with a grant from AARP's Community Challenge. (Angie Gray Photography)
March 27, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. – AARP is looking for ideas that can improve living in people's local communities.

The second annual Community Challenge provides grants to projects that can be developed quickly. Last year, Bismarck received more than $12,000 for a pop-up pedestrian and bike pathway from downtown to the Missouri River waterfront parks to gauge interest in a permanent pathway.

Director of AARP North Dakota Josh Askvig says the challenge is prioritizing projects that address three topics, all of which fit into North Dakota's current needs.

"How do we increase ranges of transportation and mobility options, how do we increase and create vibrant public places in our communities for folks to gather and build better, stronger communities, and then how do we support the availability of a range of housing options in the community?" he asks.

The challenge is part of AARP's initiative to make cities and communities livable for people of all ages. The deadline for applications is May 16 and all projects must be completed by November 5.

Askvig says the projects can act like a trial before something larger is set up, as was the case with Bismarck's pop-up pathway last year.

"There's a wide array of opportunity here for folks to get some dollars to try something before they build it full-fledged and so they know how it will work and understand how it will impact their community positively to make a better community for everybody," he explains.

Last year, $780,000 in grants were doled out to nearly 90 projects in all 50 states. The challenge is open to nonprofits and government entities, although other organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND