CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee AARP and local officials announced Monday that Montgomery County and the City of Clarksville have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, which is part of the AARP Livable Community Initiative.
The Network encourages states, cities, towns and counties to prepare for the aging of the U.S. population by paying attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. A Livability Index developed by AARP, includes housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity. These will be the key focus areas as the community moves forward on this initiative.
AARP Tennessee Director Rebecca Kelly presented Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts with certificates officially welcoming the Clarksville-Montgomery County community into the AARP Network. Col. Joseph Kuchan, Fort Campbell Garrison Commander, was recognized for the post’s willingness to support the community’s age-friendly efforts.
“I’m so excited about the impact of this partnership we’re starting today and honored that Fort Campbell believes in this effort,” County Mayor Jim Durrett said. “What we do to improve a sidewalk or a park affects everyone -- from a mom with a baby in a stroller to a military veteran in a wheelchair -- and this program will help us get it right for everyone.”
Kelly said Clarksville and Montgomery County join 360 communities nationwide and six other Tennessee communities -- Chattanooga, Franklin, Kingsport, Knoxville, Livingston and Memphis -- in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.
“This shows the leaders of this community are aware of our population shifts and are ready for the important discussions about the impact of housing, transportation, public spaces and other issues on older residents,” Kelly said.
Fort Campbell also has stepped up to support the Age-Friendly initiative.
"We are grateful to be a part of a community that not only supports soldiers while they are actively serving but also as they become veterans in this area,” Fort Campbell Garrison Commander Col. Joseph Kuchan said. “We know that approximately 25% of the soldiers and families choose to stay in Clarksville and Montgomery County as they transition out of the service. The community's is interest in long-term quality of life benefits for veterans is definitely something we support."
Clarksville Mayor Pitts called Monday a ‘monumental day for the community.”
“This means that our community's elected leadership has made a commitment to actively work toward making this city and county a better place to live for people of all ages,” Mayor Pitts said. “I appreciate that AARP has come to the table with such a well-designed game plan for us to use. Age-Friendly communities strive to be inclusive and considerate of the perspectives of all residents, of all ages.”
For example, in one of the first steps, the City and County have both applied for AARP Livable Communities grants. The City’s project is a Walkability and Wayfinding signage system for Downtown, which will show people the distance and time needed to walk to various destinations around our city’s core. The County applied for an AARP Livability Grant to upgrade the Downtown Commons sound system, install permanent event lighting and expand seating options to enrich the experience of park guests. By providing quality entertainment, in comfortable seating, guests of all ages will be encouraged to frequent the park.
Participation in the no-cost network gives the community an outline for a process of improvement that includes:
- Access to a global network of participating communities, as well as aging and civil society experts.
- Access to information about best practices, events, results, challenges and new initiatives.
- Opportunities for partnerships with other cities.
- Mentoring and peer-review evaluation by member cities
For more information on the AARP Livable Communities Initiative, go to https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/about/info-2014/what-we-do.html#
AARP Tennessee Director Rebecca Kelly and AARP Community Outreach Director Stacy Pennington presented Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts with certificates officially welcoming the Clarksville-Montgomery County community into the AARP Network. Col. Joseph Kuchan, Fort Campbell Garrison Commander, was recognized for the post’s willingness to support the community’s age-friendly efforts.