Hattiesburg, Mississippi – The City of Hattiesburg’s Community Arts Center (HCAC), the Hattiesburg Landmark Preservation, Inc. (HLP) and the Hattiesburg Downtown Association are the joint recipients of the 2021 AARP Community Challenge Grant totaling $11,400. The grant will go toward upgrading Duncan Lake Park in Downtown Hattiesburg through painting a mural, restoring seating, adding art installations and providing free arts programming.
Leaning on the grant program’s mission of making tangible improvements for communities that jump-start long-term change, the Hattiesburg program will provide arts programming and engage several groups of volunteers to enhance the local community space at Duncan Lake between August and December.
These opportunities will include several project workdays, including a kick-off event on Saturday, August 21. During these dedicated workdays, volunteers will help prep the park space with necessary construction work and cleaning up debris/trash. They will also include days dedicated to painting, installing creative elements and more.
“Duncan Lake and the park have seen a lot of improvements and growth over the last several years – especially with its recent major upgrade to the walking trail around the 17-acre lake,” said Emily Gallaspy with the Community Arts Center “We’re excited to work with the Downtown Hattiesburg and HLP to use this grant as a way to merge the Center’s art education efforts with civic engagement at a unique park space in the East Jerusalem neighborhood.”
The Community Arts Center and the Hattiesburg Landmark Preservation, Inc. are one of 244 awardees chosen from more than 3,5000 applicants – and is one of three that were chosen throughout the state of Mississippi. The other two went to Jackson and Ocean Springs.
Gallaspy added, “By offering unique opportunities for the community, this project will encourage volunteers to use their voices and creativity to make their own footprints in the community.”
To learn more about the initiative in Hattiesburg or how to volunteer, participants can reach out to Emily Gallaspy at 601-620-6422, email@example.com or by https://bit.ly/hburgaarpchallenge.
The AARP Community Challenge is a grant program to make tangible improvements to communities that jump-start long-term change. It is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages. To learn more, visit aarp.org/Livable.