NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (July 28, 2021) – Berkeley Heights Township has been named a recipient of a 2021 AARP Community Challenge grant, one of five grantees selected in New Jersey.
The grant will be used for a trailblazer project to design, print, and display an attractive, readable township map of public walking trails. The map will be enlarged and housed in a covered structure installed at four strategic locations in the town.
The project aims to promote wellness, recreation, inclusiveness, social connection, and town spirit by informing and showcasing the town's public trails for use by residents of all ages. Intergenerational volunteers (age 50+, residents with mobility issues, residents with children in strollers, and teens) will be solicited to walk the trails together and score the features of the trails, such as distance, difficulty, surface type, stroller/wheelchair/walker accessibility, rest stops, and lighting. The key features for each trail will be displayed in a legend on the map. The map will also be printed on paper in English, Spanish, and Mandarin and available in a bin attached to the map structure for those wishing to carry the map or have for future use. Walking and running clubs will be established to promote social connection and use of the trails.
"We are so excited that AARP found our senior trailblazing project worthy of this grant," said Berkeley Heights Mayor Angie Devanney. "One of our top priorities for our town's seniors is to make our community more walkable. We not only want to encourage healthy exercise and overall wellbeing, but to promote more walking in general in our downtown area and throughout the existing and future trail network that Berkeley Heights is so fortunate to have. This project will help us educate our seniors - and all residents - about our walking trails and make them active participants in our effort to improve them. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to launch and complete this project in 2021."
“We are incredibly excited to support Berkeley Heights Township as they work to make immediate improvements in their community to encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change,” shared Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP New Jersey State Director. “Our goal at AARP New Jersey is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”
Click here to read this article in its entirety in TAPinto Berkeley Heights.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.
The grant, in the amount of $15,000, will be used to design, print, and display four enlarged maps of public walking trails in Berkeley Heights, and to construct weatherproof structures and located at four central locations in town: the new municipal complex, Columbia Park, Snyder Park and the YMCA. These structures will also hold information about Township happenings, as well as information about various species of trees and other flora that may be found on certain trails.
"The Grants Committee is thrilled to be able to contribute to Berkeley Heights and to promote wellness in residents of all ages by encouraging them to explore and walk the many trails in town," said Grants Committee Chairperson Meera Rao. "To walk in our very own local wooded parcels in town reduces stress and promotes good health, and we want everyone to work these walks into their everyday routines."
Want to join the Grants Committee? Click here for more information and an application.