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Pop-Up Porch during Christmas in Thomasville EventThe City of Thomasville, through a partnership with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission (SWGRC), was recently awarded a Community Challenge Grant in the amount of $6379.86 from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to help fund quick-action projects meant to jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment.

“We were honored, along with our partners in the SWGRC, to be selected by AARP as a 2021 grant recipient,” said Kenneth Thompson, City Planner. “This collaborative effort between the City of Albany, City of Sylvester, Lee County, and ourselves will provide funding for projects that add accessible seating, recreational equipment, and outdoor art displays in the four communities.”

According to Thompson, the grant funding was used for the construction of a “Pop-Up Porch.” “The Downtown Thomasville Pop-Up Porch is a pilot project designed to help encourage the use of temporary changes to the built environment that improve the quality of our public spaces,” said Thompson. “The porch is sized to fit within a parking space and temporarily expands the sidewalk for a range of uses such as outdoor seating, artist markets, and performance space.”

The Pop-Up Porch was recently unveiled to the community during a Christmas in Thomasville event. “Through a collaboration with the Thomasville Center for the Arts (TCA), the Pop-Up Porch was used by artists during our events,” said April Norton, Director of Downtown & Tourism Development. “This temporary expansion of our sidewalk allowed guests visiting downtown Thomasville to travel unobstructed by displays, tables, artists, and seating while providing a beautiful ambiance.”

The SWGRC is composed of 14 counties across Southwest Georgia. “Each municipality and county in the state is automatically a member of its designated regional commission,” said Thompson. “Regional commissions are created and established as public agencies and instrumentalities of their members that facilitate coordinated and comprehensive planning in conformity with minimum standards and procedures established pursuant to law,” said Thompson. “The commission functions as the regional planning entity for land use, environmental, transportation, and historic preservation planning in each region.”

AARP’s 2021 Community Challenge grant program received more than 3,500 applications from nonprofits and government entities across the country. “AARP funded nearly $3.2 million across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of this highly competitive process,” said Thompson. “Grants will help improve public spaces, transportation, housing and civic engagement with an emphasis on the needs of people 50 or older.”

“This pilot project is not possible without collaborative efforts with the SWGRC and TCA,” said Norton. “We are looking forward to continuing this pilot project during upcoming events in our community.”

For more information about the AARP Community Challenge Grant, please visit or contact Kenneth Thompson at 229-227-7001.

Pop-Up Porch during Christmas in Thomasville Event

Top Left and Above: Pop-Up Porch during Christmas in Thomasville Event


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