Archive for Tuesday, June 5, 2012

City, county leaders show support for position to attract retirees

June 5, 2012


A plan to add a new city-county staff member to guide the community’s efforts to attract retirees received some early support at a joint study session Tuesday.

City and county commissioners stopped short of promising to include funding for the position in their 2013 budgets, but several commissioners indicated they were leaning in that direction.

“I think it would be money well spent in the area of economic development,” said City Commissioner Aron Cromwell. “I think there is a potential for a low-cost, high return for our community, not just from an economic development standpoint but from a societal standpoint.”

City and county commissioners at a joint study session Tuesday received the final report from their Retiree Attraction and Retention Task Force. A key recommendation of the task force was to create a new city-county position that could create a portal of information related to attracting retirees. The position also would oversee marketing efforts to attract retirees to Douglas County.

The idea of a new employee has both the support of City Commissioner Hugh Carter and County Commissioner Jim Flory, who co-chaired the task force. But other city and county commissioners on Tuesday said they were intrigued by the idea of a formal effort to attract retirees. 

“I think this could be a way to improve our community for everyone,” said Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman.

The task force also recommended hiring a marketing company to create a formal strategy to reach out to retirees. The task force did not come up with cost estimates for either the new position or the marketing plan. But Flory said he envisioned taking a “small amount” of the current money set aside for economic development to fund the new position. Carter said private partners — everybody from Kansas University Endowment to home builders and financial institutions — could be approached about providing some funding for the marketing plan.

Task force members said they believe attracting retirees to the community could provide a significant economic development boost. Their report estimated the upcoming crop of retirees control 70 percent of the nation’s wealth and account for 40 percent of consumer demand.

City and county commissioners are expected to bring up the issue of adding the new position as part of their 2013 budget process, which will conclude in the late summer.


TruthSayer 5 years, 11 months ago

 Yeah, let's spend a lot of money to find out retirees would rather live where it is warm year round and housing is more affordable. Again the city is showing their "day late, dollar short" insights into economic development. Remember the whole bio technology fiasco? Trying to copy other cities success works when there are definitive similarities.
  We do not have the weather of the south/southwest or even California. Our housing market is too expensive for retirees living on Social Security. And wealthy retirees would rather live in Tuscani or elsewhere besides Kansas.Our entertainment district, i.e. downtown Lawrence, is almost nothing but student oriented. Our mass transit system is in-efficient. Sorry, having EVERY bus return to downtown, as part of their routing, is a pander to special interest. 
 This is a short term idea that will paint the city into yet another corner. What will happen after all the retiring baby boomers die and the retiree "well" dries up? I guess the city will hire more people to come up with more "day late, dollar short " ideas. 
 Try this on for size; try to attract the "snow birds". You know, the retirees that spend their golden years hop-scotching around the country in RVs. Our spring and fall seasons are ideal. We just have to give them something to come here for. Can you say festivals, pageants, theme parks etc. boys and girls? 
 This idea would not only attract some of the coveted retiree dollars, our city is drooling over, but may just also turn us into a tourist destination that would attract people of all ages and promote all around economic development that is not pigeon-holed to a demographic that one day will diminish.

Finally, I challenge the wealthy developers in this town to show some initiative and imagination with how they invest in our community. So far they have turned Lawrence into an over built, apartment complex, fast food, national chain clothing store, narrow minded community with no flare for creative development.

William McCauley 5 years, 11 months ago

"Can you say festivals, pageants, theme parks etc. boys and girls? "

Are you kidding, first you have to over turn the noise ord in the city and county.... LOL. Remember "they" ran off one of the biggest music festivals in this part of the country and then passed that noise ord for the county so no longer can anyone host any events at anytime of the day that makes any sound.

Every time some one has a good idea for events or things to do that would bring people here to spend money, many in town bitch about traffic and parking being a major issue and reasons as to why it won't work here (unless it's their idea/event).... like our under developed river front park or Burcham (pre row house) could have been made much nicer and made into an events park. To say these kind of ideas won't work here is foolish at best... all you have to do is look to Teluride Co. and it's "city park" The town sits at the boxed end of a narrow valley with only one road in & out of town, little to no event parking in town, yet the town can host major events all year long for thousands of visitors.

However, instead of thinking ahead and how to build on what was a well known national music stop.... we've gone with the ruin that cash flow and bring in more grandma's..... sounds good, there is nothing here for the young to do other then drink, so the old people who can't afford to live in the SW, will fit right in dong nothing living in their over priced over taxed Lawrence location.

TruthSayer 5 years, 11 months ago

Some good points "W", however, using the Wakarusa music festival is a poor example. It was a good hippie festival for the trust-a-varian kids working their way to Burning Man during the summer school break. It was not family oriented, did not bring in much revenue, (except lining the promoters pockets) and brought a lot of drugs and thuggery to the community. Nonetheless, Lawrence does not promote a diversity of music. For a city once ranked #2 behind Nashville, percentage of musicians, the Lawrence music scene is anemic to say the best. Again that falls on the venues in town that have no imagination for bringing in a variety of music, not just what the young management and their friends like. Come on, when was the last time you saw a "jazz" band at the Jazzhaus?

somebodynew 5 years, 11 months ago

Wow, your moniker says it all. But I do agree with you. What a waste of money, and of course we have to hire a 'firm' to come up with the plan. Lots of good ideas in your post.

skinny 5 years, 11 months ago

They aren't going to atttract retirees raising the water rates and taxes!

They we have the empty T bus service runing that is costing the tax payers and retireses of this city.

Lets waist some more money!!

Dan Blomgren 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree with all the comments above. We can throw all the money and hire as many consultants as we want, but Lawrence for many of the reasons listed above will never be a retirement community. And why do we want that? We are a young college town graduating tens of thousands of young adults a year, but we aren't doing anything to attract and keep that population or their dollars. Dollars that could stay in Lawrence for 20-30 years as they raise their families, buy homes, cars, etc... Instead our narrow minded city leaders think it will be more profitable to attract an older population who are living on fixed incomes, and require a completely different set of needs than what we have to provide. A huge waste of money, time, and effort!

irvan moore 5 years, 11 months ago

i think maybe the city and county should try and make the city a liveable place for the retirees that have made this their home and have chosen to stay here instead of charging us to attract a "better" class of retirees

Patricia Davis 5 years, 11 months ago

This is so typical Lawrence. Bella Sera is a perfect example of a condo to no where. If I could afford to move to retire I would and this is why: property taxes are going to go through the roof when the Brownback Regime takes over. Sales tax will go up as well. Lawrence does not have good public transportation but we spend good money for it. The Lawrence School Boards have proven they cannot be trusted to do what we pass bonds for...and then have the balls to ask for more. Lawrence is not a walkable city. Sidewalks are typically in a state of disrepair. Bike trails/transport have not been well designed. We never had the political will to build a bypass to make interior driving safer and more efficient.

We have a governor hell bent on making Kansas a theocracy. We have increasing right wingnuts ruling/dominating our state. We have the home of the Koch bros who are focused on ruining this state like a bad strip mine while investing their culture dollars in NYC and Washington, DC.

Let's not forget that our state's vision is a smaller government. I can't believe we will have more efficient services. And the poor state workers/teachers with people blaming them for wanting the pension that was promised them and the greedy Kansas legislature never fully funded.

And, then, of course, there is the hideous weather. Not being a native here, I call Kansas a bad weather sampler.

The only person making money off of this incredibly too late plan is the person who will be hired, for a brief time, and then will move on to someplace better.

Enoughsaid 5 years, 11 months ago

For Kansas, Lawrence is a great city to live in but that's about it. If you look at the whole picture, Kansas is the worst state to live in. 11th highest sale tax in the nation. Out of fifty states, Kansas and four other states are the only ones who tax groceries at the going sales tax rate for the area, 8.85%. Vehicle ownership costs we are right in the middle at 25th highest, even state's that have no state tax have a lower vehicle tax ownership.

Everyone knows that property tax on homes is out of sight as wells as purchase costs on homes. If you have a government pension and is out of state, your pension will be taxed. The only good thing you can say about Kansas is local pension's are not taxed and if you own an RV, they are tax by weight, not value. Also if you buy a new car and live in Kansas, all rebates are taxed. So if you buy a new car and it has a rebate of $5,000, you pay 8.85% on that $5000.

A good source for information on retiree living is a website called Taxes by State.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence would need to do a lot more than just set up a marketing plan. That's one dimensional thinking. How simplistic. Lawrence has always catered to college students. After all, KU is its largest industry. For some reason, our city leaders think it would not be expensive or challenging to adapt to seniors. Is that because the only expenses would be a short term staffer and consultant? Nope. Not even one-dimensional thinking.

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