Town receives $15,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant

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A $15,000 Community Challenge Grant from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) made it possible for the Town of Cutler Bay to install outdoor fitness equipment at Cutler Ridge Park, and on Feb. 27 a ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the park.

The grant was part of AARP’s Community Challenge, begun in 2017, in which the organization invested nearly $780,000 to “create change and improve the quality of life” for people of all ages in communities nationwide.

In a highly competitive process 1,200 applications were received. Only 88 communities were selected and Cutler Bay was one of them.
Mayor Peggy Bell, Vice Mayor Sue Ellen Loyzelle, former Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin and several members from the town’s community advisory committees were present at the ceremony.

“This project is the perfect combination of our efforts to increase available services to our active adult community, and our efforts to increase access to fitness amenities throughout the Town,” Mayor Bell said. “I appreciate the AARP for recognizing our commitment, and partnering with us to install this fitness circuit.”

Victoria Funes, the associate state director for AARP Florida, was present during the event and spoke briefly about ways in which the AARP supports local communities.

“AARP FL is very pleased to see the inclusiveness and thought to detail put into the Town of Cutler Bay’s adult exercise circuit, creating a safe and welcoming space for adults of different abilities to be active,” Funes said. “It is our hope that other communities are inspired to apply for Community Challenge grants in 2018.”

The Town of Cutler Bay was the first municipality in South Florida to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities and has “worked diligently” to create a livable community for residents of all ages. It has been a member of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ Communities for a Lifetime Initiative since 2012.

Town manager Rafael Casals consulted with the Communities for a Lifetime Committee (CFAL) and the Parks and Recreation Committee for this project and said he recognized and appreciated the hard work of residents who sit on the town’s various community advisory committees, and whose service to the community is having a positive impact on the quality of life for all residents.

“For the past two years, the town has been recognized by the Florida Department of Health as a Healthy Weight Champion,” Casals said.

“With the completion of this project, the town has increased the number of parks with outdoor fitness equipment from two to five over the past year.”

For information about the Cutler Bay’s various community advisory committees visit the town’s website at or call the town hall at 305-234-4262.

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