City of Orlando Receives $20,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant

Last updated on July 28, 2021

City of Orlando to Install Solar-powered Wi-Fi Hotspot Picnic Tables in Historically Underserved Neighborhoods Thanks to $20,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant

July 28, 2021 – ORLANDO, FL – Today, AARP announced the City of Orlando as one of eight recipients in Florida to be awarded funding through the Community Challenge Grant, a grant focused on providing small grants to fund “quick-action” projects that help communities be more accessible for residents of all ages.

As a recipient of this grant, the City of Orlando will receive $20,000 to use for the fabrication and installation of the proposed “Tables of Connection” project. As part of this project, the city will install a solar-powered table and shade structure in Prince Hall Park, located in District 6, and Willows Park, located in District 5. Both tables are outfitted with Wi-Fi hotspots and charging stations, with each table able to connect residents to the internet, charge up to four wireless devices and power four laptops at once. Installation of the tables is estimated to occur this fall.

The tables will bring needed connectivity to these two areas in which 57% and 33% of residents, respectively, lack broadband service, much higher than the City of Orlando’s average of 18%. Rated for 175 mph winds, each table can provide critically important services to residents after a disaster, allowing people to charge phones, call loved ones, restore services, and get access to emergency information during a power outage.

AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said, “We are excited to support the City of Orlando as they work to make immediate improvements in their community, which will encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change. Our goal at AARP Florida is to support local efforts across the state to ensure communities can be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”

“For the City of Orlando, providing residents with equitable access to every day amenities is a top priority,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. ”We are excited to be selected as a recipient of this grant, and look forward to adding these multi-faceted park tables that are ADA-friendly and shaded to each park for residents to enjoy on a daily basis, and also improve the quality of services available to our residents.”

City staff is working with the local art community and neighbors surrounding each park to secure artists who will decorate the concrete pads of each table in the near future to provide a colorful, unique park amenity. These Tables of Connection projects will create a signature look for each park, inviting residents to comfortably socialize.

This project advances the City of Orlando’s Future Ready Master Plan and the Livable Orlando: An Age-Friendly initiative to further ensure residents of all ages, abilities and backgrounds have equitable access to amenities that make Orlando one of the best places in America to live, work and raise a family.


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