The idea of creating a unique intergenerational neighborhood that could attract retirees to Lawrence now has its leadership group. And it has a strong Crimson and Blue tint.
“I thought the biggest hurdles would be to get the right stakeholders together,” said Hugh Carter, a vice president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and a former city commissioner who campaigned on attracting more retirees to the city. “We have been able to move forward. I’m thrilled to still be a part of it, but I feel like the people who can make this a reality are together now.”
Carter has helped form a 13-member group called the Campus Village Board of Directors that will solicit and vet proposals from developers and others who want to be involved in building an intergenerational neighborhood in the city.
The board’s mission will be to bring to life the idea of a 20- to 60-acre development that would include a mix of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums designed to attract people 62 years and younger. In the same neighborhood, there also would be a “continuing care retirement community” that would offer independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care and memory care facilities.
Carter said the development also likely would include research space for KU researchers who conduct studies in gerontology and other fields.
The board has a heavy contingent of Kansas University leaders. Architecture dean John Gaunt was one of the first people approached by Carter and Kansas University researcher Dennis Domer, who has been championing the intergenerational neighborhood concept.
“Architecture is going to be so important on this project,” Carter said. “The layout that will cause people of different generations to come together is going to be very important.
“Our idea throughout this process has been to get as high of profile and as well respected people as we can find in each area of expertise.”
A site or a development team for the project hasn’t been identified. Seeking and vetting development proposals will be one of the key tasks for the board in the coming months, Carter said.
Carter said the group was formed with the idea of having a project completed within the next four years, but it may move faster if interest from the development group dictates it.
KU leaders are showing a signifiant interest in the nonprofit board. In addition to Gaunt, other KU leaders on the board include Susan Kemper, a distinguished professor of psychology and a gerontologist at KU; Karen Miller, dean of the School of Health Professions; and Kevin Corbett, president of the KU Alumni Association.
The group also includes experts in education, law, finance and real estate, Carter said. The complete group includes:
• David Ambler, retired vice chancellor for student affairs at KU;
• Carter, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce;
• Mary Clark, attorney;
• Corbett, KU Alumni Association;
• Rick Doll, superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools;
• Jim Flory, Douglas County commissioner;
• Doug Gaumer, community bank president Intrust Bank;
• Gaunt, School of Architecture;
• Kemper, KU psychology;
• Beth McFall, Realtor;
• Miller, KU School of Health Professions;
• Terry Riordan, Lawrence city commissioner and local pediatrician;
• Molly Wood, elder-law attorney.