Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2012

Task force gathering data for retiree report

Housing, taxes, medical care significant in attracting older residents

A group of women laugh about an exercise that has them mimic playing a piano during a morning workout in October at Meadowlark Estates, 4430 Bauer Farm Drive, led by activity director Andrea Wyatt. “Are we playing Mozart?” inquired one woman. The Douglas County Retiree Attraction Task Force is on a mission to make Lawrence a retirement destination.

A group of women laugh about an exercise that has them mimic playing a piano during a morning workout in October at Meadowlark Estates, 4430 Bauer Farm Drive, led by activity director Andrea Wyatt. “Are we playing Mozart?” inquired one woman. The Douglas County Retiree Attraction Task Force is on a mission to make Lawrence a retirement destination.

January 5, 2012


If only those Lawrence senior citizens who became an Internet sensation by filming a flash mob at the local Target store had worn T-shirts reading “Retire in Lawrence.”

“Now that would have been a marketing campaign,” said Cynthia Wagner, the city’s assistant city manager who is working with the newly formed Lawrence Retiree Attraction Task Force.

But the dancing residents of Meadowlark Estates, whose video has attracted more than 1.5 million viewers on YouTube, didn’t wear any such shirts, so the city’s retiree attraction task force continues its work.

At a meeting Wednesday, task force members said making Lawrence into one of the top retirement destinations in the Midwest is likely going to involve more mundane topics such as housing, taxes and medical care.

“Taxes, in particular, seem to be a pretty significant issue for retirees,” said Doug Gaumer, president of Lawrence’s Intrust Bank and a member of the task force.

Task force members said they want to gather data on sales and property tax rates for a variety of Big 12 communities and other college cities — everywhere from Fort Collins, Colo., to Chapel Hill, N.C. — to get a clearer picture of how Lawrence’s financial climate stacks up to other potential retirement communities.

The group’s final report also is expected to review strengths, weaknesses and opportunities related to:

• Medical services, social services and volunteer opportunities.

• Legal, transportation and employment opportunities.

• Kansas University’s offerings for retirees, other educational services and cultural and entertainment activities.

• Housing options.

City Commissioner Hugh Carter, who is co-chairman of the task force with Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory, said he thinks the housing component could lead to discussions about how different entities can form partnerships to build infill housing that is geared toward retirees.

“I’m hoping a big idea or two can come out of this,” Carter said.

Carter said he expects the task force to produce a report to deliver to city and county commissioners by the end of May. After that, he expects another group to put together a marketing plan based on the recommendations of the task force.

Carter said time is of the essence on the project because the Kansas University Alumni Association is planning a special survey this summer polling its membership about retirement issues. Carter said the alumni association has agreed to ask participants in the survey whether they would like more information about retiring in Lawrence.

Carter thinks that could produce several thousand leads for the community to follow up on, and he said it would be important for the community to have a formal marketing plan in place.

“I think we’re doing this work at a really good time,” Carter said.


begin60 6 years, 2 months ago

I have to question the judgment of anyone who would choose to retire in Lawrence, unless they are already from a place like KS, TX, AL, or MS: then, they might not recognize the amazing lack of civilization, competence, and good judgment here. In short, they might not realize they are down the rabbit hole.

I mean, Lawrence has been getting some pretty awful press about the quality of their nursing homes. That's a bad sign. It's also by far the least walkable and safe place and economically well-off place I've ever landed. Also, KU is run by hacks and no one stands up to these scoundrels due to the realistic fear of having their careers destroyed. Someone needs to kick out the crooks that work in HR and the General Counsel's office. It's a crime to invite anyone to a place that is run by this kind of dishonest thugs. No one used to being treated like a worthwhile human being or who enjoys any amount of intelligent company should move to Lawrence.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

Tenants to Homeowners is wayyyyyyyyy ahead of the city on housing that would accomodate retirees. It's already here = no need to start reinventing wheels. No need to look for an excuse to further flood the housing market.

If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of residential you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.

STOP /THINK Tenants to Homeowners is the community's absolute best resource!!!

In addition to Tenants to Homeowners there should be plenty of foreclosed homes needing buyers at better than normal Lawrence inflated real estate values.

Comm Carter: unknown to you infill has been going on for years. Check with Tenants to Homeowners.

501gdm2 6 years, 2 months ago

The problem with the Lawrence area for retired folks is the cost of living! Taxes too high, Housing too high, etc. We go to Texas every winter and here no taxes on food, no taxes on meds. Homes are very reasonable, no personal taxes, etc. That's what Kansas needs to work on, at present time folks are moving away from the high cost of living. Some states are even waiving the real estate taxes for the retired to attract retired folks.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

Personal income taxes would generally not affect retirees.

cowboy 6 years, 2 months ago

Looking at retirement in five or so years Lawrence is not on my list. Too expensive , weather , relatively little to do .

Enoughsaid 6 years, 2 months ago

If you want to attract retirees, you have to do what we do with the homeless. Give them many free things, Lawrence is like a magnet to the midwest homeless and the word has gotten out. But anyone who live heres knows Lawrence Kansas is a very expensive town to live in.

11th highest sales tax in the nation, one of only six states that tax food at the maxium sales tax rate, 8.85%. Housing and property taxes at the high end of the scale, out of state pensions taxed at the maxium rate. To see how Kansas compares, goes to Taxes by State website.

It is sad when Lawrence Kansas loses more businesses then it gains in a year. If someone is retiring here in hoping for a better and cheaper life style they better be connected to a developer or a politician. Now Boeing realized they could be more efficient by moving to another state, sad but Wichita will now be trying to attract retirees to live in their crime ridden city.

LHS56 6 years, 2 months ago

I have retired in Lawrence and love our City. Perhaps the above posts needed to think about the cost of retirement earlier. Yes, the taxes are too high, traffic is bad and the winters are long. However, good friends and good places to spend free time offset these negatives. One only needs to look at Alvamar to see the number of retired individuals that have been attracted to our city. They were leaders from their prior living areas and have brought their "can do" attitudes to our City. (No...I didn't have a silver spoon. I worked 60 hours a week for 50 years. I didn't buy a new car every three years or have other "big boy toys." Now all I need is good health...g)

David Reynolds 6 years, 2 months ago

As a retired person I can say the overall cost if living is factor #1!

The task force needs to visit retirement Nevada's like Arizona & Florida where business & living amenities, structured programs & facilities are designed around the "Active" retiree. Everything I read so far regarding the task force tells me they do not have a clue regarding what the retirees are seeking when they go south. It us not just the sunshine. I am. Lawrence resident spending the winter in Arizona. The life style down here invokes activities and programs promoting an active lifestyle.

If all the task force is thinking is housing, taxes & medical care then their work is a failure.

David Reynolds 6 years, 2 months ago

If the picture represents Lawrence's target market for retirees then Lawrence is doomed to failure. 70 is the new 50. Lawrence needs to focus on the activities & amenities & costs that promote that life style.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

Look at the picture.

Want retirees to move to Lawrence? Give single old men tax breaks to relocate. The single old ladies will follow! That is all the data you need.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.