BRATTLEBORO—Brattleboro is one of four Vermont communities to receive $3,000 in grants from AARP Vermont to jump-start placemaking demonstration projects that focus on creating public spaces and streets that are safe and accessible for everyone.
Proposals from Brattleboro, Fairfax, Fair Haven, and Northfield were selected from a host of applications for the initiative. This is the second year of AARP’s Placemaking Grant Program.
According to a news release, AARP Vermont teamed up with the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, and Community Workshop to support these communities in making temporary changes within the community or neighborhood.
The goal is to help communities build social capital that can help to lead to permanent change that supports healthy, active lifestyles for people of all ages and abilities.
In Brattleboro, the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance will transform a dark alley at the Transportation Center into a pop-up communal gathering space during the Sept. 6 Gallery Walk.
The demonstration of the “Alley Lane” will use lighting, activities, and the arts to engage people in the space and make it feel more comfortable and accessible as people use this alleyway to access the parking garage.
“This is an opportunity for these Vermont communities to 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,” explained Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP Vermont.
“We know that simple modifications can powerfully alter the health, economic, social, and ecological value of a community,” she added. “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.”