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New Wisconsin Livability Projects Swinging Into Action

Pixabay.com vickilangemo

MADISON, Wis. - Several projects that will help create more welcoming communities for Wisconsinites of all ages are swinging into action.

Bayfield, Beaver Dam, Berlin, Ellsworth, Greendale and Sheboygan are among the 159 communities selected for this year's AARP Community Challenge grants.

The cities will share in $30,000 for projects that Sam Wilson, state director with AARP Wisconsin, said include improved walking tours, directional signage in historical areas, and a park bench painting contest. "The best parts is that they are meant to be quick-action projects that serve as a stimulus for other long-term projects," Wilson said. "Some may seem simple, but they're really important to the success of the projects and we're happy to play a small part in what these communities are doing."

The projects must be completed by November 4. Wilson noted this is the third year for the challenge, which brings the number of Wisconsin communities selected for project funding to 14 total. Creating more livable communities means ensuring public spaces are accessible and inclusive - meaning they can be enjoyed by a mother pushing a stroller, a teenager riding a bike or an older adult using a walker.

Wilson said it's especially important for seniors who are more prone to social isolation. "Projects that create greater pedestrian access, make mobility easier, that have smart-city technology, that make people feel connected - these are all ways we build that social safety net around folks so they feel they are valued in their community," he said.

Nationally, $1.6 million was awarded for projects that meet the criteria of creating more vibrant public places, demonstrating the value of "Smart Cities," deliver a variety of transportation and mobility options, and support the availability of affordable and accessible housing options.

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