|Published: 10:11 PM, 10/12/2012
||Last updated: 10:15 PM, 10/12/2012
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
I had an occasion to attend a workshop at a recent
conference in North Carolina, and they talked about the struggles they had with
the revitalization of their downtown. They talked about and showed some
photographs of the things they had tried to do to bring foot traffic to their
They had refaced all the old storefront buildings and
built a very nice park in the middle of downtown and yet no one came downtown.
After 6 p.m. all the businesses closed up for the day because there was nothing
going on, until they took a look at the ever-increasing senior population. They
realized that if they lived downtown there would always be foot traffic and the
downtown would be revitalized.
They took some of the old buildings and renovated them
into senior friendly affordable housing, and the thing that caught my interest
was the installation of golf cart paths for the seniors to move around
downtown. As I look at downtown Newport, I see that we have more going for us
then that town in North Carolina. The challenge before us is a rapidly
increasing senior population and our city planners will have to face the
challenge hopefully sooner rather than later.
Our town will see a huge increase of older adults in the
next few years, and I don't think Newport is prepared to meet the challenge.
Our city planners are giving much thought to our younger generation as they
should, but our older generations need the same consideration. The silver
tsunami is coming and we cannot go over it, we can't go under it and we can't
go around it, we will have to meet the challenge and go through it.
Senior housing that is available today is inadequate at
best in this county; I can't imagine what it will be like, a few years from
now. As I look at downtown Newport and note that we already have available
assets like a grocery store, library, pharmacies, churches, city government,
mortuaries, a hospital, and post office within a mile and a nice new river walk
all the makings to invigorate downtown except for the key element of
We have a large number of vacant buildings that would be
ideal for senior friendly, affordable housing. Have any of our city planners
even considered what our senior population could do for downtown Newport? I
think renewal begins with people and our senior population can sustain a
downtown revitalization if those resources are made available. I challenge all
those downtown vacant building owners to step up to the plate and do something
positive with your building downtown and consider senior friendly, affordable
Director the Office on Aging
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