The Moulton Lions Club continues its efforts in revitalizing downtown Moulton as the organization announced its plan to bring crosswalk murals and other practical beautification projects to the city this year.
The Lions Club was one of 184 other organizations nationwide to receive a 2020 AARP Community Challenge grant, which will help make such projects become reality, according to Moulton Lions Club President Judy Ramos.
“We are incredibly proud that AARP selected the Moulton Lions Club to receive this grant. AARP is a nationwide leader in making neighborhoods, towns, and cities more livable for all residents, and we are honored that they see the tangible value this project will bring to our community,” Ramos said.
Moulton Lion Donna Shanklin said the grant will help fund crosswalk murals, the purchase and inventory of three parklets for use at public events, and a permanent mural featuring the significance of historic Byler Road.
Shanklin said the Lions Club will meet this week to determine the places for each crosswalk within the city of Moulton.
“With this ‘quick-action’ grant (the Lions Club) hopes to place—in cooperation with local government and others—themed crosswalks in selected locations,” she said.
Themes for each crosswalk will highlight Jesse Owens, Lawrence County’s agricultural roots, the Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness, endangered salamanders native to North Alabama known as waterdogs, and the Native Americans who first peopled Lawrence County.
To get more insight for the waterdog and Bankhead/Sipsey designs, another Moulton Lions Club member, Coty Alred, said he reached out to Wild South Outreach Coordinator Janice Barrett.
“I think it’s a great way to show kids and families how much biodiversity our forests have, and it’s a great way to let everyone know about those little guys,” Alred said of the endangered salamanders to be featured in the crosswalk artwork.
Alred, who helped bring to life the vision of a temporary mural still-in-progress in downtown Moulton, said he also plans to approach several of the artists who contributed to the community mural about assisting with the Lions Club’s next project.
“I think that this mural project is super exciting for artist and the community,” he added. “I love seeing people out walking around town whether they are exercising, walking their dog, or taking an afternoon stroll, and I believe this is just another way to increase the quality of life in our little town and highlight the unique features in our county.”
Shanklin said the Lions Club also plans to use funds from the grant to purchase three parklets—mobile, temporary community spaces that transform curbside parking spots into curbside seating options—for special events such as the annual Strawberry Festival, which draws thousands of visitors to the Moulton square each year.
Shanklin said the grant will also help fund a mural, possibly on the side of the Moulton Lions Club building on School Street, which will feature historic Byler Road and some research of local historian Joel Mize.
According to AARP, the Community Challenge fund helps make possible “innovative projects that inspire change in areas such as transportation, public spaces, housing, smart cities, civic engagement, coronavirus response and more.”
“AARP believes that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; affordable and accessible housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community life,” the organization said.
To learn more about the work being funded by the AARP Community Challenge across the nation, including all 184 granted projects this year, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge.
An interactive map of all Community Challenge projects and AARP’s livable communities’ work may also be viewed at aarp.org/livable.