Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Task force says coordinator needed to spearhead efforts to attract retirees to Lawrence

May 16, 2012


Local government may need to create a new job in order to attract people who have retired from one.

A joint city-county task force is recommending local government add a new position to oversee efforts to attract retirees to live in Lawrence and Douglas County.

The Retiree Attraction and Retention Task Force worked on Wednesday to finalize its recommendations, and agreed a new staff position either in city or county government would be critical in achieving the goal of Douglas County becoming a top retirement destination in the Midwest.

“The overriding sense I get is that this effort will take a lot of coordination and communication,” said County Commissioner Jim Flory, who is a co-chair of the task force. “I think the final analysis says it will require some staffing. We need a point person.”

The task force — which is scheduled to deliver its report to city and county commissioners at a joint study session on June 5 — doesn’t identify how much the new position may cost. But the group recommends city and county leaders consider using economic development funding to pay for the position.

Flory said he hopes the position can be included in the 2013 budget that both city and county commissioners will craft this summer.

The report also calls for two other “action steps.” They are:

• Find funding to develop and implement a marketing campaign to advertise Lawrence and Douglas County as a retirement destination. The report recommends funding come from the city, the county, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas University Alumni Association and private sector firms such as real estate agencies, builders and others who would benefit from a surge in retirees. A funding amount wasn’t specified.

• Create an advisory board to study senior issues and develop ways to enhance Lawrence’s reputation as a retirement community.

The task force also made broader recommendations in several areas, including transportation and housing options for seniors.

“Transportation really is the monster in the room,” said John Glassman, a member of the task force. “It is going to be so critical to our efforts.” The report particularly notes the community has a shortage of transportation systems that serve seniors on weekends and evening hours.

On the housing front, the report recommends community leaders work with the alumni and endowment associations at Kansas University to study ways to encourage private developers to build a new “intergenerational living community.”

The community would be a cutting-edge development — perhaps on about 100 acres — that would be designed to attract returning Kansas University alumni who want to live in senior-friendly neighborhood but also one that is open to families of all ages.

“I’ve really been pushing for us to include this idea in the report because I believe it could be one of the bigger economic development elements to come out of this,” said City Commissioner Hugh Carter, who is a co-chair of the task force. “It really ties in our biggest resource, KU, to attract retirees.”

The report estimates that nationally 400,000 baby boomers a year will retire and will be seeking a new home. The report estimates such retirees spend on average about $320,000 on a retirement home, and create significant spending power in local economies.


David Holroyd 5 years, 10 months ago

What? This group is expecting retirees to come to Lawrence and spend $320,000 on a home and then pay over $4,000 or more in property taxes?

Unbelievable pie in the sky.

BigAl 5 years, 10 months ago

I know several retirees in Lawrence and none of them live in a home valued over $300k and they are living in nice homes. I don't know where that $320k number came from but it is definitely a reach. You can buy a very nice stand alone home or a condo in Lawrence for well under $300k.

Chad Lawhorn 5 years, 10 months ago

The $320,000 is a national average. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. Thanks, Chad

John Hamm 5 years, 10 months ago

Dreamers! I also have to wonder which one (or more) of the taskforce members has a "buddy" out of work they're gonna create this position for?

Oh! "The report particularly notes the community has a shortage of transportation systems that serve seniors on weekends and evening hours. " and parking for their Motor Homes! Brahahahahahahaha

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

stupid stupid stupid, why don't they do something to improve the quality of life of the "average american" retirees that are here now, like oew says, worst city commission ever

patkindle 5 years, 10 months ago

if you have a buttload of money, and family in lawrence or are a heavy duty ku sports fan lawrence doesnt offer much

cowboy 5 years, 10 months ago

Im four years away from retiring , Lawrence is the last place I think about as a retirement option. As a a retiree I want low cost , lots of entertainment , no cold , not too hot either.

Scottsdale in the winter , Florida in the spring , Colorado in summer , and Lawrence in the fall wouldn't be too bad.

Enlightenment 5 years, 10 months ago

Bella Sera is a luxury condo that targeted retirees. The development went bankrupt because nobody was willing to move to Lawrence and pay $300,000+ for a condo.

Scott Kaiser 5 years, 10 months ago

My God! Retire in Kansas? I can think of at least 40-45 other states to spend my retirement. And money. Kansas....sheesh. It's OK if you like tornadoes....

BigAl 5 years, 10 months ago

And Florida is OK if you like hurricanes. California is OK if you like earthquakes. Arizona is OK if you like unbearable heat.

Kansas weather really isn't all that bad.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 10 months ago

Another exercise in stupid thinking. Increasing property taxes, likely higher sales tax, lack of true walking trails (sidewalks on one side anyone?) lousy weather, no bypass, a city commission elected not by ward but by special interests, a city government without vision or integrity, a police department that is out of control, a school system that squanders millions on athletics and cries that there isn't enough money to pay teachers/keep local schools open. Yes, Lawrence is such a special place.

lunacydetector 5 years, 10 months ago

what a brilliant way to help add riders on our empty t buses. a major drawback will be all the poor driving geriatrics to go along with the poor driving skills of our k.u. students. just another way to increase our local government by hiring more police to go along with that $30 million police station.

kansasredlegs 5 years, 10 months ago

Schump & Co. better offer up some free entry passes to that grand recreation center it's planning in secret with landowner developers if it wants retirees to come here. Taxpayers pay the freight here anyway, so might as well give it to those who haven't paid anything into Lawrence coffers. The Mayor & Corliss can deliver them in flower baskets with a card, "Welcome to Lawrence, Where We've Never Met A Tax We Wouldn't Pass"

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

wow, another task force that results in the preconceived idea being brought to the commission. we need to attract young hard working productive people to lawrence, not old non productive people. you want happy retirees? bring back furrs or a restaurant like it, put a freeze on property tax increases for residents 65 and older, change downtown back to something other than an entertainment district, give the money you are going to waste on this new job to the senior center, take care of those who have made this community their home, ahh, i'm just a grumpy old man, no reason you would listen to me

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 10 months ago

I know of at least a half dozen retiree couples who have moved to retire here. All but one attended KU, some live in $330K homes, most have children who went to KU. Half moved from within Kansas, the others came from out of state. They seek out Lawrence because of the arts, KU culture and athletics, good golfing, our downtown. Also they are close enough to KCI to travel to see kids and friends.

lily 5 years, 10 months ago

It's great if you can afford it but what about the people who are already here or who can't afford it? What about the lifelong residents who are disabled and "retirement" facilities won't take them because they are disabled, under 60-65, and don't have the big bucks? What if their family is in the area and wants them to be close? I can see both sides but let's not forget our own. I agree with the poster who said we need places seniors and others like to go to eat such as Golden Corral, etc. Lawrence doesn't have a place like that anymore. They can't drive to Topeka or KC all the time but their hometown doesn't offer it. This town isn't all about KU or the well to do. It's about real people from different backgrounds, many who have lived here their entire life and want to stay here.

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