The Local Office on Aging has been awarded a $20,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant in support of the creation of an Outdoor Fitness Area
LOA has been selected for a 2023 AARP Community Challenge Grant. The $20,000 grant will support the creation of a new Outdoor Fitness Area at LOA’s Center for Health and Wellness, tailored to the needs of the older population. LOA is one of only 310 grantees for 2023, selected out of 3,600+ applications from across all 50 states, Washington D.C, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The Outdoor Fitness Area will be an accessible space for all ages and further LOA’s passionate initiatives of improving personal health and wellness for our area’s seniors,” said Ron Boyd, President and CEO of LOA. “We are incredibly proud and humbled that AARP selected LOA for this investment. AARP is a nationwide leader in making communities more livable and we are honored that they see the value this project will bring.”
The Outdoor Fitness area will have full coverage including covered seating and picnic areas. The equipment, designed to meet the needs of older persons but accessible to everyone, will include an assisted step trainer, skill trainer, assisted functional trainer, step around station, and assisted balance walk to help users improve balance, fine motor strength, flexibility, and range of motion. The area will be fitted with appropriate ground covering and include the installation of a paved walking track.
The project also promotes social benefits by offering a communal space for adults to meet and socialize with others.
“The area will be an excellent asset for older adults to live longer, fuller lives by maintaining their independence,” added Boyd.
In September 2022, LOA opened the doors of its Center for Health and Wellness to provide improved education and training in the areas of nutrition, socialization, wellness, and healthy aging which supports LOA’s overall mission of helping older persons remain independent for as long as possible. Phase I of LOA’s Center for Health and Wellness included retrofitting the building to meet the specific needs of a senior health and wellness center including providing ample space for LOA’s nutrition offices, a congregate meals site, a Meals on Wheels site, Senior Food Boxes and under the leadership of a Community Health Worker to provide educational outreach including health fairs, lunch and learns, vaccination clinics and falls prevention.
Installation of the Outdoor Fitness Center equipment is expected to begin in July 2023 at LOA’s Center for Health and Wellness, located at 4902 Frontage Road, NW, in Roanoke. A grand opening and official ribbon cutting is planned for Spring, 2024.
About the Community Challenge
The AARP Community Challenge grant program funds innovative, quick-action projects that inspire change in areas such as public places; housing; transportation; diversity, equity, and inclusion; digital connections; community resilience; and more. With additional funding support from Toyota Motor North America, the program is also increasing its investment in projects that improve mobility innovation and transportation options.
This is all part of AARP’s nationwide work on livable communities, which supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties across the country to become great places for all. AARP believes that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; affordable and accessible housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community life.
To learn more about the projects being funded by the AARP Community Challenge across the nation, including all 310 granted projects this year, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge. You can also view an interactive map of all Community Challenge projects and AARP’s Livable Communities work at aarp.org/livable.