Age-Friendly Northfield received an AARP Challenge Grant!!!

We are very pleased to share that we are one of the 159 awardees of the 2019 AARP Community Challenge Grant program from https://www.facebook.com/AARPLivableCommunities and http://www.facebook.com/AARPMinnesota! The awardees of this “quick action” grant program come from every state Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Through this $2,500.00 grant, Age-friendly Northfield will support and encourage community engagement and interaction across diverse community residents of Northfield MN. By providing seating at outdoor community concerts and entertainment events for our older adults and disabled citizens, these populations will be able to attend without the burden of carrying their own seating.

During the warm summer and fall months, the City of Northfield buzzes with free outdoor activities. In the heart of downtown on Bridge Square there are Thursday night concerts by the community and High School bands. Northfield’s Showmobile, a large covered stage on wheels, travels to city parks to host a variety of events such as the public library Books and Stars Program and annual Vintage Band Festival, the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, and Latino dance troupe performances. Citizens of Northfield attend these events not only for the entertainment but socialize with an intergenerational group and to enjoy the free entertainment. In the AARP survey of adults age 50+ conducted in 2017, over 86% of the respondents felt that the availability of affordable activities was important and nearly 72% felt that convenient venues was important also. However, many older adults and people with mobility issues find attending these events difficult because seating is not provided. This necessitates find parking close to concert area in order to be able to carry their own chairs – often an insurmountable challenge for seniors or those with physical disabilities. The goal of Age Friendly Northfield and its fiscal agent, FiftyNorth, would be to improve access these events. The city would deliver these chairs either on the Showmobile or a city truck and trailer and set up the seating in advance of an event. These bright red chairs labeled with Age Friendly Northfield and AARP logo will be placed toward the front of the audience area and signage would indicate that these seats were reserved seating for older adults and handicapped individuals. Our project will be up and running August 2019.