The City of Delaware has received a $15,000 grant from AARP and will use the funds to improve Unity Park on Ross Street.
AARP announced earlier this week that the City of Delaware Parks and Recreation Department was one of six entities to be selected to receive a 2022 AARP Community Challenge grant. The department will use the $15,000 grant to make improvements to Unity Park, formerly Ross Street Park, located at 50 Ross St.
Community Affairs Director Lee Yoakum said Thursday the new amenities for Unity Park include a fitness loop, exercise stations, and a programming space that “positively impacts the livability of this community.”
“The local neighborhood has difficulty getting transportation to SourcePoint and the Delaware Community Center YMCA to participate in fitness and healthy living programs,” Yoakum said. “This alternate location will help bring programs to the community and help expand opportunities for residents.”
The AARP reported that the six entities selected for the grant will “implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital access; and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and over.”
Yoakum said the improvements at the park will meet a need for community members in that area over the age of 50.
“From community outreach, we discovered the unmet need in the community was predominantly from the 50-plus age group, so we focused our park amenities there,” Yoakum said. “The adjacent Woodward school already meets the needs of the younger age group.”
AARP praised the City of Delaware in its press release.
“We are incredibly excited to support the City of Delaware as they work to make immediate improvements, encourage promising ideas and jump-start long-term change in Delaware,” said Holly Holtzen, AARP Ohio state director. “Our goal at AARP Ohio is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”
The project is expected to begin within the next month, Yoakum said, and is projected to conclude by November.
“The collaborative effort produced wonderful results for Unity Park,” said Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle. “Parks staff and citizens both had an opportunity to express their vision for the space and in so doing, the relationship between the city and a portion of its citizenry also was transformed. Promises were made and, more importantly, promises were kept.”
The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.