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Archive for Monday, December 6, 2010

Study: Lawrence ranks fourth among small metro areas for military retirees

December 6, 2010

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Atten-tion!

Lawrence is one of the better cities in the country for attracting military retirees, according to a new study released Monday. And now area leaders are saying to expect more discussions about how the city can make retirees a bigger part of the community’s economic development efforts.

Calling all military retirees

Here are the top 10 small metro areas for military retirees, as selected by USAA and Military.com.

  1. San Angelo, Texas
  2. State College, Pa.
  3. Abilene, Texas
  4. Lawrence
  5. Johnstown, Penn.
  6. Sherman, Texas
  7. La Crosse, Wis.
  8. Cheyenne, Wyo.
  9. Lebanon, Pa.
  10. Pascagoula, Miss.

A new report by USAA — a financial services firm for military members — and Military.com found that Lawrence is the fourth-best small metro area for military retirees.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Jerome Hanson, a military retiree who has been living in Lawrence since 1970. “Lawrence is good for retirees of all sorts, as long as you have a good fixed income.”

Lawrence was ranked high for its educational opportunities, its proximity to VA hospitals and a military base in Leavenworth, and its housing costs.

The new ranking has several city leaders re-introducing ideas that the city should be more proactive in recruiting retirees to live in the city.

“I absolutely want to see us add attracting retirees to our economic development plan,” said City Commissioner Aron Cromwell. “I think that is critical for us. We have to have a multi-faceted approach to economic development.”

Earlier this year, leaders with Douglas County Senior Services and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce unveiled a new local study that came to much the same conclusion. The report found Lawrence had several attributes that gave it a chance to attract retirees, including: its status as a major university community; proximity to a large metro area, and housing costs that are less than those in coastal areas.

The report also highlighted a Georgia study that found a typical retired couple had the same economic impact as creating 3.4 manufacturing jobs.

But the report was unveiled in January, and the idea of creating a formal program to attract retirees hasn’t yet been proposed at City Hall. That may change in the future. John Glassman, executive director of Douglas County Senior Services, said a committee of the chamber of commerce has reviewed the report and is expected to ask the chamber’s board to make a recommendation in early 2011 on a retiree recruitment plan.

Cromwell said the benefits of having more retirees in town will be numerous. He said many retirees who can afford to move often bring new wealth into a community, and also have time to donate to causes and agencies. Plus as people retire at an earlier age, it is becoming more likely for retirees to start their own businesses.

“What it amounts to is they bring a lifetime of savings into our community, and that is new money coming into Lawrence,” Cromwell said. “And they bring a lifetime of experiences that we can really benefit from too.”

The new military retiree study found that military retirees can be particularly beneficial to a community because of their relatively young age. The average retirement age for an enlisted member of the military is 42 and is for an officer it is 46.

Glassman said the city, chamber and other stakeholders now need to determine what a formal recruitment program should look like, how it would be funded, and who would lead it.

“Somebody has to step up and say: ‘We ought to do this,’” Glassman said.

Comments

kusp8 4 years ago

Small metro area....am I not aware that Lawrence has suburbs...learn something new everyday.

Steve Jacob 4 years ago

This city is getting older. Nothing bad about that, but we need to change to.

Fins 4 years ago

So the city wants to capitalize on military retirees but it doesn't recognize Veteran's Day as a holiday for its employees, many of whom are veterans. Hypocrites.

bearded_gnome 4 years ago

Small metro area....am I not aware that Lawrence has suburbs...learn something new everyday.

---of course Lawrence has 'burbs: Globe, Pleasant Grove, Eudora, etc. there ya' go. oh yeah, there's Grantville, too, lol.


when I first saw this news this was my question: did they take into account the social climates of the communities? that is, as posted by posters on the award-winning LJW forum, military folks (i.e. heroes) are often referred to as "gun toters" (poster Scott5150) "mercinaries"[sp?] or "babykillers."
I think #4 is far better than Lawrence should get. I'm sure that MS and WY are socially more supportive of military personnel than Lawrence KS.


me personally, I think military retirees deserve the best treatment possible because of their sacrifice and the sacrifices of their loved ones.

weeslicket 4 years ago

you got me on globe and grantville.

Ralph Reed 4 years ago

bg, you said: "did they take into account the social climates of the communities? that is, as posted by posters on the award-winning LJW forum, military folks (i.e. heroes) are often referred to as 'gun toters' (poster Scott5150) 'mercinaries'[sp?] or 'babykillers. " /*/

The important bit about your comment is, "... as posted by posters on the award-winning LJW forum ..."

Even you have said that the LJW forums / comments are a small microcosm of people who live in Lawrence. You shouldn't / can't generalize to the entire community the viewpoints of a small number of anonymous posters.

BTW, the correct spelling is 'mercenaries.'

/*/ @ Fins, re: your 1616 on 6 Dec. Many municipalities do not recognize Veterans Day as a holiday; many school districts do not either. It's not just Lawrence.

/*/ @ All: Read Randy Masten's post below. Excellent comments.

scott3460 4 years ago

Heroes, gnome, are a rare breed. To constantly refer to every uniformed mooch who sucked off the government teat as as "hero" diminishes those who have done heroic things. There are far more gun toters in the military than heroes and I, for one, find no joy in Lawrence's ranking as such an attractive place for government supported welfare recipients. Not to be encouraged, if you ask me. Fort Riley and Leavenworth do not provide a good example of the danger of allowing too many of them to concentrate in a city.

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

"...the danger of allowing too many of them to concentrate in a city." Hyperbole much, bub?

notajayhawk 4 years ago

"To constantly refer to every uniformed mooch who sucked off the government teat"

Thanks for that fine example of exactly what gnome was referring to.

weeslicket 4 years ago

who saw la crosse, wisconsin coming in on this list? anyone?

sleepy33 4 years ago

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Bursting 4 years ago

There is a difference between recent retirees and senior army vets. If you read the article fully, the average age of retired military personel was 42-45 years old I believe.

I sure hope I'm able to handle the weather out here when I'm 45..... And I think when you retire you get paid still, plus anyone that demonstrated the commitment to make it to retirement from the military would be a more than welcome worker to me.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

This is more pie in the sky thinking. The city is constantly thinking of ways to bring back the reckless real estate "boom town economy". Remember KCMO/JOCO has a buyers market going(10,000 homes or more on the market). With tons of cultural activities in the center of downtown surrounded by lots of new residential. Complete with a new gourmet super market at 13th & Main.

Think education education education education education

Then think VO-Tech Campus instead of strip malls and more houses that do not pay back

Then think Business College for the new building at 9th and New Hampshire once it fails.( This project MUST provide parking for the tenants.)

THINK a new art and design school on the lot next to the arts center.

Not everybody wants to attend a 4 year college. Education is a business that withstands economic gyrations.

Education is Lawrence,Kansas! Let's build on that.

Bring on more and more competition bicycle activity. This pays back. AND does not require extravagant $30-$50 million tax dollar spending!!!

Bursting 4 years ago

what's "reckless" about attracting retired military personel to our town? better than retired artists...

Kyle Chandler 4 years ago

hey bursting...see LTC_Randy_Masten comment below

how bout them apples?

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Art always has value - Can The Arts Save Your Small Town?

Lawrence is mentioned BTW.

by Joanne Steele on August 3, 2010

Last weekend I had one of those serendipitous happenings that keep my belief in magic alive.

Phoenixville First Fridays feature live music, open studios and gallery showings.

The topic of our monthly Revitalization Team meeting was to be art as an economic development tool. Who should appear at my info table at our small town summer festival but an expert in art towns!

Joe McArdle is a resident of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, a former steel town that revitalized itself by attracting artists and selling itself as an art town. They’ve been at it for years with great success.

Here are some of Joe’s sage suggestions: http://ruraltourismmarketing.com/2010/08/can-the-arts-save-your-small-town/

Arts and Economic Prosperity http://www.americansforthearts.org/information_services/research/services/economic_impact/005.asp

LTC_Randy_Masten 4 years ago

As someone who will be retiring from the Army on 31 December of this year, I can say that my wife and I chose to retire in Lawrence in large part due to the people we have met here. We have lived in three foreign countries, on both coasts, and originally grew up in Texas. When the Army sent me to KU for a Master’s Degree, we didn't know what to expect - aside from great college basketball. What we found was a city with a vibrant art and music scene, a wonderful downtown district, excellent public schools (such as Cordley Elementary), and friendly, intelligent people who are involved in their community. Additionally, Lawrence offers great restaurants, quality youth sports programs (such as KVSA), and entertaining public events at South Park, the Lied Center, Liberty Hall, and many other venues. While it is admirable that the city wants to recruit more retired veterans to move to Lawrence, it is the people that have attracted my family and several other veterans that I know. I enjoy the public discourse and debates on everything from public school funding to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, “Thank You Lawrence!” I believe if the city can maintain its quality educational system, dynamic downtown, and wonderful citizens, it will continue to attract military retirees. I know I actively encourage many friends to move to Lawrence. It is a great place to live, raise a family, and grow old.

LTC_Randy_Masten 4 years ago

As someone who will be retiring from the Army on 31 December of this year, I can say that my wife and I chose to retire in Lawrence in large part due to the people we have met here. We have lived in three foreign countries, on both coasts, and originally grew up in Texas. When the Army sent me to KU for a Master’s Degree, we didn't know what to expect - aside from great college basketball. What we found was a city with a vibrant art and music scene, a wonderful downtown district, excellent public schools (such as Cordley Elementary), and friendly, intelligent people who are involved in their community. Additionally, Lawrence offers great restaurants, quality youth sports programs (such as KVSA), and entertaining public events at South Park, the Lied Center, Liberty Hall, and many other venues. While it is admirable that the city wants to recruit more retired veterans to move to Lawrence, it is the people that have attracted my family and several other veterans that I know. I enjoy the public discourse and debates on everything from public school funding to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, “Thank You Lawrence!” I believe if the city can maintain its quality educational system, dynamic downtown, and wonderful citizens, it will continue to attract military retirees. I know I actively encourage many friends to move to Lawrence. It is a great place to live, raise a family, and grow old.

George Lippencott 4 years ago

And despite my ranting these are many of the reasons we are here - if they lay off the taxes a bit

jestevens 4 years ago

Any idea how many retired military live in Lawrence now? Or how many are retiring here annually?

DDBH_E7 4 years ago

I am one of those retired 42 year olds, with 21 years of military service that chose to live in Lawrence. I have owned a home here since 1990. Both of my children went through the USD 497 school system and one of them is currently a freshman at KU.

There were a lot of positive factors about this town that were considered when making the decision to live here permanently and many of those were referred to in the article. The article stated that Lawrence is “in proximity” to a large metro area, which I believe is referring to the Kansas City metro area, and not Lawrence itself, so hopefully that will clarify that for a couple of you.

When I retired in 1998, I immediately (in fact I got the job while I was home awaiting discharge) went to work at a local publishing company and was employed there until the economy started to turn in 2008. Since 2008, I have worked with a local ISP in town and I am now in the process of establishing a small business here.

Whether other members of this community want to realize it or not, our military is a reflection of our society. Some members are good and some are not. There are heroes and cowards. The difference being that the Armed Forces is a meritocracy and advancement and retention in the Armed Forces is not the easiest thing for an individual or a family to successfully negotiate, for a variety of reasons, some more obvious than others, and if one was disciplined enough to survive it long enough to retire, they have accomplished something on their own merits rather than “mooching” off of anyone else.

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