Archive for Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lawrence city commissioners approve Retirees Attraction Task Force

July 20, 2011


Lawrence city commissioners are ready to create a new task force aimed at attracting more retirees to the community.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting on Tuesday agreed to create a Retirees Attraction Task Force. The group would have 12 members, including a city commissioner and a county commissioner. The city and county commissions each would appoint five members to serve on the group.

City Commissioner Hugh Carter said he envisions the task force would develop a set of recommendations on how the community could better position itself to attract members 50-plus age set.

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Council urged the city to move ahead with the project. That group prepared a report that suggested attracting retirees could provide a boon to the economy through new property and sales tax collections and through greater charitable giving.


ToriFreak13 6 years, 8 months ago

keep raising taxes....retirees love that! living in towns with the most costly renovated library in the world is a decent attraction too.

notanota 6 years, 8 months ago

What about the Forum for Attracting Retiree Task-force?

notanota 6 years, 8 months ago

Come on, now. We've also got excessive heat, cold winters, chiggers, a governor gutting social services and arts funding, and expensive housing. Lots to offer!

irvan moore 6 years, 8 months ago

how about you just quit screwing up things for us retired folks who live here now

IBike100 6 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is already one of the most expensive towns to live in. Look at our gas prices!

notanota 6 years, 8 months ago

How about beefing up the neighborhood school system? I hear retirees are attracted to living near grandkids.

BruceWayne 6 years, 8 months ago

This is almost as stupid as donation meters for Hendersons homeless. Hugh Carter will NOT get my vote in 2 years.

conservative 6 years, 8 months ago

I hope this commission is entirely volunteer and has and edict that their proposals must all have zero cost. No amount of marketing campaigns can hide the fact that Lawrence has high taxes, high property costs, and high cost of living. The only reason most retirees would move to Lawrence is if they are moving close to relatives. We are close to Kansas City which could be a draw to some except it is not cheaper to live here so doesn't help Lawrence. If lawrence wants to increase the tax base and have a reason for people to move here it needs to attract employers, we've proven that as a bedroom community we can't fund government to the extent of the liberal ideals this town is so fond of enacting.

tolawdjk 6 years, 8 months ago

Except it has been proven that Lawrence can't attract employers, so they are going to try to attract the next best thing...people that don't need a job.

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago

All this concern about the cost of living in Lawrence ignores the facts: many other cities with as high or higher costs of living across the nation are eagerly attracting the newest wave of retirees: Sarasota, Austin, Colorado Springs, Bend (OR), Prescott (AZ), Boulder, Henderson (NV), and so forth.

Being a KU alumnus, I associate your stellar university city as ground zero for the consciousness revolutions of the sixties and seventies, including the emergence of modern feminism, multiculturalism and racial equality.

I hope I can equate Lawrence with the economic and social revolutions now occurring around aging. These new generations of retirees will be a boon to cities and states that pursue economic development opportunities; and the facts have been spelled out in my Huffington Post article:

Instead of seeing so many reader comments rife with ageism, I hope someday to see a more enlightened collection of views that embrace the opportunities rather than stereotypical and denigrating images of aging. To those of you who harbor severe distaste for older citizens, I’ve got news for you: You’re growing older too.

Lawrence and its activist nature helped change the world in the sixties and seventies: Your community has the opportunity to do this again and make your city robustly multigenerational and truly inclusive across the lifespan.

Godot 6 years, 8 months ago

Good lord, Mr. Sustainable Oil, What turnip truck did you just fall off of? You imply that Lawrece is not "Robustly multigenerational and truly inclusive across lifespan." Have you ever even spent time in Lawrence? Have you visited our "retirement" homes, altzeimers homes, long term care facilities and adult day care facilities? Volunteered for Meal on Wheels, or at the hospital? Attended events at the Senior Center? Enrolled in Parks and Rec classes designed specifically for "silver" and "gold" patrons? Been to McDonalds on 6th street for the morning coffee klatch, or to the American Legion or the Eagles for the senior dinner/dances? For pete's sake, have you even been to KU where most of the faculty are boomers?

As one of those who survived the "acivist nature" of the 60's and 70's here in Lawrence, I can assure you that the Lawrence you see today is the product of those 60's and 70's activists. We don't need lectures on how to remake our city to match your utopian dream of multigenerationalism; we've done quite well by ourselves. We don't need to skew the balance even more away from the youth.

There is nothing "ageist" about facing the truth: that by marketing Lawrence to the boomer generation, our city leaders are asking for a boom in the need for more government infrastructure, citizens who are likely to be light consumers of retail and heavy consumers of social and medical services, and who, if they become home owners, will not remain in their homes for the long term.

For a city commission that has a history of turning away businesses because they do not offer plentiful high-wage jobs, I am surprised that they welcome the prospect of an explosion in the need for personal care givers, housekeepers, lawn care workers, and CNA's.

In short, BG, get off your Huffington Post high horse, and get down with the real world. I am confident you will be really, really surprised by what you find.....if you choose to look.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Green, I read that you specialize in marketing to the boomer generation. I have some questions for you. 1. How many years of experience do you have as a senior citizen, say over the age of 60? 2. Lawrence is fine tuned for college age residents. Have any communities you consulted for been college towns? How successful were those communities in attracting seniors as an economic stimulus? 3. Are you already in a dialog with representatives of the Lawrence community? If not, how did you become aware of our discussion?

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago

1) I'll be 62 this fall, but that's a bit beside the point from a marketing perspective. Typical of all marketers, I have produced successful marketing campaigns targeting audiences of which I'm not personally a member, such as men 18 - 30 and women 40 - 50. I've been marketing to Boomers for 30+ years. Further, I was the primary caregiver for my Topeka-based parents for the final eight years of their lives, helping them move from independent living to assisted living and then to nursing home care. You’ll also see in my background my work with Silverprint Colorado, one of only two formal statewide initiatives to create a public-private partnership and strategic plan for aging.

2) This next generation of retirees doesn’t want to retire – not from the perspective of disengagement and withdrawal. They want the multi-generational vitality and intellectual stimulation of college communities. I have not consulted with Austin, Texas, but a segment appeared on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer just last night, identifying Austin as the most popular city today for retiring Boomers: Pay attention to what Austin's mayor has to say about community sentiment. I have consulted about aging and business with economic development organizations from many cities such as Des Moines, Sarasota, Cleveland, Amsterdam, Nashville, Denver and Lancaster.

3) I found out about your local initiative just yesterday afternoon by way of Google Alerts, which I have tuned to all published news related to Boomers and aging. The Lawrence Journal-World carried the news item online.

I'm not sure if you're suspicious or just curious. I’m excited about this initiative for Lawrence, a city I know pretty well and visit as often as possible. I'll be glad to speak with you by telephone. You can find my email address and telephone number on LinkedIn.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

These towns Sarasota, Austin, Colorado Springs, Bend (OR), Prescott (AZ), Boulder have little in common with Lawrence,Kansas.

And this is just the first part of the play " We Are The Real Estate/Chamber of Commerce Special Interest Group".

The theme: How can we dupe taxpayers again.

Suggestion: Grab Your Wallets and Do NOT let the wallet out of your sight.

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago


You can diminish my expertise as an outsider if that makes you feel better, but it would be helpful if you try to gain a broader understanding of what really is happening nationally and internationally with population aging.

For example, here are some conclusions from a national study conducted by Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, a bit closer to your home:

"Contrary to popularly held assumptions, it turns out that over the past decade or so, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group. The 20-34 age bracket, meanwhile, which is usually identified with swashbuckling and risk-taking youth (think Facebook and Google), has the lowest. Perhaps most surprising, this disparity occurred in the 11 years around the dot-com boom—when the young entrepreneurial upstart became a cultural icon."

So, if one of the central issues is creating higher paying jobs in Lawrence -- opportunities that can provide decent careers for young graduates -- then you might rethink your assumptions about "the real world," which to me seem dominated by stereotypes.

If framing this obvious debate from a positive perspective is "riding on a high horse," then I ride proudly. This new wave of retirees will dramatically inspire business creation and positive structural changes in existing industries. Lawrence can prosper from this as can other communities. (And many will.)

My comments, which you dismiss as lecturing, address the negativity and criticism posted with this LJW article and the one posted yesterday, as opposed to the demographic and sociological facts defining Lawrence today. And I'm interested in learning more since Lawrence is one of my two favorite cities.

Godot 6 years, 8 months ago

Mr Brent Green, All I needed to see in your online responses was the phrase "private-public partnerships." Translation: taxing property owners to benefit the connected few. Not interested. Not one bit.

Godot 6 years, 8 months ago

Mr Brent Green, All I needed to see in your online responses was the phrase "private-public partnerships." Translation: taxing property owners to benefit the connected few. Not interested. Not one bit.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 8 months ago

BrentGreen, I am critical, suspicious, and curious. The first question about your senior years is actually quite important to us old timers. We find that young healthy people have unrealistic ideas about aging, and Boomers are surprised by aging. I hope to encourage a civil dialog. The best way to influence ideas that will affect us is to discuss the possibilities. The whole country is getting older. The youngsters among us need to hear our concerns. I posted a random list on the earlier blog.

So, for starters, there is a lot of low to no cost housekeeping items that should be addressed like allowing for creative neighborhoods, securing the integrity of neighborhoods, planning safe and do-able transportation, and easy access to grocery stores, drug stores, and so on.

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago

I know exactly what you're expressing, and although I'm relatively healthy now, I have a very clear understanding of what is involved with advanced aging. This I learned from my parents, as have many Boomers. Plus I have some outstanding mentors who are a decade or two older than I am, and we meet twice annually to discuss the future of business and aging. Thank you for asking and also expressing your thoughts about opportunities for Lawrence to become more age-friendly.

Godot 6 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Green, we here in Lawrence are not rubes. We can spot salesmanese a mile away. And, with all due respect, you (though I don't know why I should give you any) have all the trappings of the penultimate political sleaze speaker.

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago

Prescott doesn't have the University of Kansas. Henderson doesn't have the University of Kansas. Sarasota doesn't have the University of Kansas. Bend doesn't have the University of Kansas.

Lawrence has the University of Kansas.

Alumni love this University as attendance to any alumni event in my current home town of Denver will quickly attest.

Where will I live out my years? I don't know yet, but I greatly respect one man who has made an art of living near Lawrence: Bryan Welch, publisher for Ogden Publications and Mother Earth News. He loves the Lawrence area. Listen to what Bryan has to say about his life near your community:

Godot 6 years, 8 months ago

I am so sorry you are so verklempt about where you will live out your nether years.

Those of us in Lawrence who are in our boomer years are not faced with the heart-wrenching decision of where to spend our retirement. Most of us have already decided that Lawrence is the place to retire because we are comfortable that we will have friends and family nearby. This is our home. It is not some place we picked out on a map, not some place we researched to determine whether it is multigenerationally compatible. It is where we feel welcome and at rest.

We don't have sandy beaches, or beautiful mountain vistas, or chic clubs and tony restaurants. We have each other. We have our community. If we were going to go somewhere else to live out our twilight years, we would have done it a long time ago.

I feel sorry for you that you have to decide where you want to live at this stage in your life, and that you are encouraging others to make decisions about their future, not on the basis of their relationships, but on the basis of ....what......I don't know.

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago

Based on survey research, we know that about 30% to 40% of the Boomer generation claim they will move in retirement. That's the opportunity in play for communities willing to put out the welcome mat.

Lawrence is where I went to college, where I've visited about 30 times since college, where my bride of 34 years and I started our journey together. A place where I still have friends who’ve been there since I attended college. Whether I live there or not, I will always think of Lawrence as a fantastic city with much to offer.

I hope you can get some clarity about how ethnocentric you appear.

BrentGreen 6 years, 8 months ago

Thank you, not_holroyd. It's good to see your validation of what we both know to be true.

And Lawrence is not the only college town now looking at opportunities to attract retiring alumni and relocating long-term university supporters. According to one study, the current most popular college towns for retirees include Gainesville FL, Athens GA, Chapel Hill NC, Boulder CO, Eugene OR, Bloomington IN, Burlington VT, Charlottesville VA, and Springfield IL.

Maybe Lawrence KS will appear on a future list of popular retirement locales, but local supporters will need to be more vociferous than critics. That's pretty obvious.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I know some retirees with KU ties that have moved back to Lawrence, too. KU already exists. People with KU ties already know about Lawrence. What needs to be done to attract more of these retirees? That brings me back to one of my original statements. The current retirees need to be surveyed. What would they like to have in Lawrence that does not already exist?

Scott Drummond 6 years, 8 months ago

One thing moving a bunch of geezers in to Lawrence would do is blunt the progressive and liberal leanings of the town. This is but another version of the same gambit they successfully engaged in during the 1990's & 2000's. Pump in a bunch of narrow minded suburbanites and old folks and pretty soon the CoC crooks are able to get away with a lot more graft and corruption.

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