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AARP Vermont has launched a community grant program that aims to issue grants of $24,000 among six Vermont towns or cities. The goal is to jump start Winter Placemaking demonstration projects that create public spaces and streets that are safe and accessible for everyone. This is the fourth year of AARP’s Placemaking Grant Program, which aims to help communities build social capital that can help lead to permanent change that supports healthy, active lifestyles for people of all ages and abilities.

“As part of its focus on livable communities, AARP knows that great communities take a long time to build and sustain,” said Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP Vermont. “But, we also believe ‘quick actions’ can be the critical spark for longer-term progress. With these $4,000 grants we will support community efforts to spearhead a demonstration project that will help build momentum.”

The Placemaking projects are intended to inspire and educate community leaders and residents.

“We have seen that these communities can start small by test-driving a process in the community with the expectation that the project will be further improved upon and refined over time — and hopefully lead to permanent change to the built environment,” said Stoddard Poor. “We know that simple modifications can powerfully alter the health, economic, social, and ecological value of a community,” she said. “When community members and local officials can actually see and experience a new or altered space, they are better able to understand what is possible and how it can improve their community. Demonstration projects like these have led to positive exciting new improvements in communities across the country.”

The objectives of the Winter Placemaking Demonstration Projects are to help participants:

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— Enhance perceptions and attitudes toward community change.

— Recognize how placemaking and community design influence successful aging, equity and health while enhancing overall livability.

— Give participants an expanded toolkit to draw from to build healthier more vibrant public spaces during the winter months.

Applicants are encouraged to participate in the Placemaking Workshop held in the fall of 2021 (date to be announced) to deepen their understanding and skills to better utilize placemaking in their community project. Grant program RFP and Applications are posted here with all the details. Applications should be received by Kelly Stoddard Poor from AARP VT at kstoddardpoor@aarp.org by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Nov. 11, to be eligible for consideration.

Adam Samrov can be reached at asamrov@benningtonbanner.com or on Twitter @banner_sports