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Blackburn Better Block was spurred through a national selection process. AARP Livable Communities chose Columbus as one of three US cities to receive the opportunity in 2018. In addition to the Blackburn project, AARP Livable Communities also hosted its national training in Columbus during the same timeframe. Nine cities brought representatives for a two-day training on how to bring Better Blocks to their state through classroom education and hands on building experiences at Blackburn Recreation Center.
During the event, a multitude of opportunities for the Blackburn Park became viable. Along with increased accessibility, community members imagined a beautiful, living work of art in the public realm that would physically and socially unite neighbors, local and citywide organizations. Arts and cultural programming became opportunities to connect people to this physical space and to develop a sense of ownership.
“Outdoor spaces are important for maintaining a high quality of life for all residents. Blackburn has always been an important piece of this neighborhood, we want to celebrate its history and combine it with ideas for an even stronger future,” said Katie White, Director of Age-Friendly at The Ohio State University College of Social Work.