AARP has announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including a recipient from the U.S. Virgin Islands. 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 nonprofits and government entities for the program, now in its third year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by Nov. 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.
In the Virgin Islands, the grantee is V.I. Trail Alliance and Partners. The St. Croix nonprofit is tasked with creating multi-use pathways across the island and expanding throughout the territory.
“The V.I. Trail Alliance has been doing excellent work toward the development of bike paths, hiking trails, parks, and walkability on St. Croix. We are proud to be their community partner,” said Troy A. de Chabert- Schuster, state director of AARP in The Virgin Islands. “We hope that the project supported by this grant will serve as a great example of the Complete Streets Policy and will be a catalyst of the implementation of this policy in the territory. We congratulate the V.I. Trail Alliance for their commitment to the people of St. Croix and the entire territory.”
Alma Winkfield, vice president V.I. Trail Alliance, said, “This AARP Community Challenge Award will create the first bike path on St. Croix and possibly the territory. The chosen location is also a segment of a greater concept plan (vitrails.org) that, when completed, will provide continuous, separate, safe pedestrian transportation options for daily use and recreation for all users. This is progress... and there is more to come.”