CHARLES CITY, Iowa - If you or someone you know is in the market for an age-friendly community, you might want to look at Charles City, which is planned to become AARP's next livable community in Iowa after Des Moines.
Community members gathered at the public library on Tuesday afternoon to discuss what it means to be a livable community (which AARP defines as a safe and secure place, have age-friendly and affordable housing and transportation options, social participation like access to shopping and outdoor spaces, includes vital services like health care providers, as well as civic participation and employment, and respect and social inclusion), as well as giving feedback on how to improve.
In addition, Charles City is being selected for a pilot rural outreach program to share their ideas with other potential cities.
State Director Brad Anderson says that the program is just the beginning of what they plan to branch out into a larger network.
"Our vision is 5 years from now, we're going to have 10-15, maybe even 20 communities within this age-friendly network, and Charles City's going to be one of the first."
Anderson adds that Charles City was chosen for this distinction, and for the pilot program, for a couple main reasons.
"Charles City is really, I think, the perfect city to become the first rural age friendly city in Iowa, in part because they have visionary leaders in Charles City, but also because we have a lot of AARP members right here in Charles City as well."
Anderson notes that Charles City has just over 400 AARP members in town alone, out of 370,000 members statewide.
Charles City will be the second livable community in Iowa after Des Moines, which joined the network in 2012.