Seniors At AARP Summit: We Want To 'Age In Place'

Nov 22, 2013

There's a long list of things that senior citizens in Charlotte want:  affordable housing, better building standards, more transportation options, sidewalks and greenways.

AARP sponsored a conference today at Queens University that included top city leaders, city planners and residents to discuss ideas for improving Charlotte's quality of life.

If there was one message AARP and community members wanted to send the city, it was that they wanted to be able to age in place. As in, retire in Charlotte and not see their quality of life deteriorate.

Lois Bradley attended the AARP Livable Communities Summit and says it's not easy to live in Charlotte if you're a senior citizen.

"We need extra housing, we need walkable Charlotte, because I'd like to ride my bike too," Bradley says. "You know, I have no place to ride it, unless I put my bike in the car and that's hard for me to do, 'cause I'm a senior."

The summit included stakeholder speed dating sessions, in which about a dozen groups like the Mecklenburg county Parks and Rec and the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance had 15 minutes each to discuss their ideas.

Gwen Cook and Kevin Brickman discuss future plans by the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation department.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

During the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute's session, one man took issue with something said earlier by a transportation official.  

"The guy from the city that spoke about how they're working on the Sugar Creek and that community and how vibrant for the young people," And I said, but they're … look around the room, all of these old people that don't care what a 20-year-old right now is doing … "  

The Urban Institute's Mary Newsom responded.

"I will say I think that a lot of the Gen Y and their values will help push along things that you're interested in as well," Newsom says. 

Things like walkability and places to ride their bike.   

Also, at Thursday's meeting, the Charlotte Department of Transportation announced they are planning a 26-mile "Cross Charlotte Trail" that would connect Northeast Charlotte to Carolina Place mall in Pineville.