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Age-Friendly Network Welcomes 3 Colorado Cities

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Monday, May 17, 2021   

GREELEY, Colo. -- This week, Greeley, Evans and Garden City will officially join AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.

The Weld County cities will collaborate on projects including making streets more walkable, improving housing and transportation options, and creating opportunities for residents to participate in community activities.

Jim Riesberg, member of the AARP executive council and a Greeley resident, said all parties agreed joining the national network would tap the best available tools for the job.

"And so now we are able to study best practices of 520 other cities across this country that are trying to do the same things," Riesberg explained. "Now we can all work together to share information, to share resources, not have to reinvent the wheel."

Riesberg pointed to research, which showed well-designed, livable communities help sustain economic growth and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages.

By 2030, AARP projects that one in five U.S. residents will be 65 or older, and by 2035 there will be more adults over 65 than children under 18.

Friday, Riesberg and other co-founders will host an online webinar to launch the effort, and outline ways for all residents to help prioritize the work that needs to be done.

Along with housing and transportation, efforts to create more livable cities include improving access to information, employment, outdoor spaces, health services and community-based supports.

Bob Murphy, state director for AARP Colorado, said getting all stakeholders involved in the process, including residents of traditionally disadvantaged neighborhoods, is critical for the initiative's success.

"We hope that all of these efforts will be inclusive," Murphy emphasized. "Not just in the Greeley, Evans and Garden City collaborative, but age-friendly efforts throughout Colorado and throughout the country, in involving as many stakeholders as possible."

The tri-city collaboration was facilitated by United Way of Weld County, which brought some 20 groups together to form the Collective Impact Aging Well initiative in 2019.

The age-friendly network was launched in the U.S. by AARP in 2012, and Colorado was the third state to join. Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fruita, Las Animas, La Junta and Manitou Springs are members, along with Boulder, Chaffee, Eagle, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Pitkin and Summit counties.

Disclosure: AARP Colorado contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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