LONDONDERRY — The town's forest and common will get some upgrades thanks to grant funding from the AARP.
Londonderry was among 159 recipients of an AARP Community Challenge grant, providing money to support communities across the nation with projects to improve towns and cities and support quality of life for residents.
Nearly $1.6 million will be distributed through the grant program to projects across the nation. Only five projects in New Hampshire received the grant.
In Londonderry, money will be used to install 10 park benches throughout the Town Common and Kent Allen Town Forest at the corner of Mammoth and Pillsbury roads.
Kent and Meredith Allen have been strong supports of all things Town Forest for many years, involved in general cleanup, projects and other beautification measures along the wooded paths and trails in the forest.
The forest was named in Kent's honor in 2017.
Londonderry was also welcomed in 2018 as a part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, giving town leaders access to resources and information on age-friendly best practices, models of assessment and implementation and the experiences of towns and cities around the world.
The network helps participating communities become great places for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities targets improvements in eight domains that influence the health and quality of life including outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information, and community support and health services. Participating communities commit to improving their livability through an assessment of needs, development of an action plan, implementation of new projects and programs, and ongoing assessment.
With the recent grant funding to support the forest, Town Manager Kevin Smith credited the Allens for all their hard work.
"Kent and Meredith have done such an amazing job of beautifying the forest and making it accessible to the public," Smith said. "I couldn't be happier for them that the town received this grant. Being able to now place benches throughout the Kent Allen Forest will further enhance the opportunity for visitors to take in the natural beauty it has to offer."