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AARP Community Challenge Grant Awarded to Town of Bedford

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AARP today announced that the Town of Bedford is one of 159 awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program.  

A total of nearly $1.6 million will be distributed to fund 159 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. Nearly 1,700 applications were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its third year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 4, is designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by engaging residents and policymakers in accessing, understanding and using data to increase quality of life for all.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.

The Town of Bedford intends to use the $17,500 AARP grant to implement recommendations from two recent community plans that were developed with extensive public input. The "Bridge Street Area Plan" and the Town of Bedford "Bike | Walk Plan" included strategies to create new and improve use of existing walking "loops" through town. The plans also emphasize the need for improving bikeability. The Town will add benches, bike racks, signage and trash cans along three walk and bike loops, integrating public art into benches and bike racks with input from residents and artisans.

“The Town of Bedford is pleased to use the AARP Grant to provide amenities that improve the experience of all ages of the community as they walk and bike to and through our central downtown area”, said Mayor Steve Rush. “We hope this encourages people to get out and appreciate the town and patronize the businesses. It is a simple but powerful way to show the community that government can serve the public with quality-of-life projects.”

Also in Virginia, the Richmond City Health District will receive a $4,500 grant to improve Richmond's Northside through creating more comfortable and accessible bus stations with benches and trash cans.

“AARP Virginia is proud to be able to support projects that make the Commonwealth’s communities more livable for people of all ages,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau.

The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.

“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country who hear from mayors, community leaders and local residents about the value of getting quick wins to create long-term change. We developed the Community Challenge grant program to answer that call and help build momentum for more livable communities nationwide,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs. “This year, we are proud to fund more projects in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. As part of this, AARP staff and volunteers are working across the country, engaging and mobilizing residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 381 communities and four states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.