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AARP awards 2021 Community Challenge grant to Red Bank

RED BANK – The borough has been named a recipient of a 2021 AARP Community Challenge grant, one of five grantees selected in New Jersey.

According to a press release from AARP New Jersey, the grant will be used to add wayfinding decals designed by and for Red Bank, which will be placed at different intersections throughout the borough.

The wayfinding decals will detail to pedestrians how many steps and minutes they are from local features.

To help further this effort, on one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the borough, officials will use community volunteers to help build a parklet that will offer benches, bike racks and trash receptacles, according to the press release.

This public space will provide needed reprieve for pedestrians, making walking the downtown more comfortable for everyone, regardless of age or ability, according to the press release.

“Red Bank is a very walkable community and this project will significantly enhance this facet of the town by making it more convenient and informative for our residents and visitors,” said Darren McConnell, Red Bank’s police chief who is currently serving as the borough’s interim administrator.

This project is part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.2 million awarded among 244 organizations nationwide, according to the press release.

Grantees will implement quick-action projects to promote livable communities by improving housing, transportation, public spaces, civic engagement and connection with family members, friends and neighbors, with an emphasis on the needs of individuals age 50 and over, according to the press release.

Many of this year’s awards support revitalizing communities that have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and include a focus on diversity, inclusion and disparities, according to the press release.

All projects are expected to be completed by Nov. 10, 2021, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

• Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets;

• Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding and access a wider range of transportation choices;

• Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions;

• Increase civic engagement by bringing together residents and local leaders to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion;

• Ensure a focus on diversity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community;

• Support local recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by emphasizing economic development, improvements to public spaces and transportation services.

“We are incredibly excited to support Red Bank as they work to make immediate improvements in their community to encourage promising ideas and jump-start long-term change,” said Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP New Jersey State Director. “Our goal at AARP New Jersey is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”

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