Grant helps make Danforth center accessible to residents of all ages
DANFORTH, Maine – A volunteer-driven Danforth organization is one of 11 Maine entities to receive funding from a nationwide program to make communities more livable to residents of any age.
Officials with AARP Maine recently announced that Danforth Livable Communities will receive a $6,750 Community Challenge grant. For its part, the grassroots organization will include structural modifications in its ongoing Community Center project with an emphasis on the needs of adults aged 50 and over. Specifically, the building will be brought up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards with a new front walkway and entryway and a renovation of its stairwell.
“AARP Maine is committed to working with communities to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said Noël Bonam, AARP Maine state director. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees and to support their efforts as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for Mainers 50 and over.”
“This one-time donation will allow us to open our new Community Center on schedule. Our community will finally have a community center to help bring together all members of the community to receive services, offer social space, and reach their own goals,” said Ardis Brown, Danforth’s town manager.
The New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, she added, gave the property to the town for the development of a community center in 2020. Since then, through a variety of resources, community funds have been raised and this final donation will provide for complete ADA compliance.
According to Roger Rossignol, volunteer architect, “It already had the infrastructure necessary for a community center. It had the kitchen, chairs, tables and such. The building was in good shape and only needed to have better access for people with disabilities. What my neighbors and I did was to rebuild the stairwells, create a second exit and add wheelchair features to allow all citizens to participate. Now they will have a place to gather for food, fellowship and community.”
Brown added, “Danforth is a small hub town. Our community services towns within three separate counties and all residents in the area benefit. It will be staffed three days a week, the kitchen will allow us to set up a food program offering hot meals to seniors and a place to meet for many community services. A one-stop center for people needing help joining with their fellow citizens. It is part of our goal of rebuilding this community. It is recycling at its finest.
“The building was in great shape and thanks to the hours of volunteer work the project has been paid for by the community and this grant from AARP for which we are grateful. It will open soon and become an anchor point open to all citizens. It will help us build a stronger community.”
View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at aarp.org/communitychallenge and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at aarp.org/livable.