Residents of Avondale Estates Identify Priorities for Aging in Place

Contact:  Grace Trimble
Phone:  404.463.9192
E-mail:  gtrimble@atlantaregional.com

(ATLANTA - Feb 22, 2013)

ARC Working with Citizens and Community Leaders to Help Create Age-Friendly Community 

Residents of Avondale Estates are providing input to local officials to help determine priorities for transforming their city into a Lifelong Community that allows residents to age in place. Nearly 400 residents of Avondale have taken part in a community assessment survey that has identified the elements of a Lifelong Community that residents think are important in supporting healthy and independent aging. The city will use this information to develop a work program based on the priorities identified by the residents.

The project is one of several that are being funded through a grant to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) from the Pfizer Foundation and Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), a national association of funders, as part of Community AGEnda: Improving America for All Ages. This new initiative is funding nonprofits in five U.S. cities, including the Atlanta region, to help accelerate local efforts to make communities more age-friendly and places where older adults can age in place and age well.

The funds will allow ARC to expand its Lifelong Communities initiative, which began more than five years ago, to transform the region and to create communities and neighborhoods that better meet the needs of older adults. Specifically, in Avondale Estates, this funding is promoting housing and transportation options, encouraging healthy lifestyles and expanding access to services. Program implementation began in January with the distribution of the Lifelong Communities Citizen Assessment Survey.

Additional projects underway include crosswalk enhancements for improved walkability and a review of Avondale Estates zoning codes. In March, the City will host renowned walkability expert Dan Burden from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute for an all-day, interactive walkability charrette with community members and stakeholders. The focus will be on raising awareness of issues facing pedestrians in Avondale Estates, and establishing a 100-Day Action Plan to address those issues and make Avondale Estates a safer environment for pedestrians of all ages.

“The exceptional level of citizen participation in the Lifelong Communities survey illustrates how much interest and commitment there is in Avondale Estates to achieving the goals of ARC’s Lifelong Communities program,” said Keri Stevens, city planner and community development officer in Avondale Estates. “The overwhelming support for mobility and accessibility through crosswalks, safe streets and easy access to commercial amenities, such as a grocery store, will help the City prioritize its work plan.”

Based on the survey, more than seventy-six percent of respondents ranked the ability to modify existing homes with handicapped accessible features as important or very important. Residents also express a desire for sidewalks throughout the city and improved access to the business district and MARTA. Opportunities for social interaction also ranked high, including more parks and playgrounds as well as community festivals and events.

Learn more about Lifelong Avondale Estates.

What is an Age-friendly Community?

Efforts to make communities age-friendly are being driven by the rapid growth of the over-60 population. With the aging of the baby boomers, communities are looking for a broader array of housing types and price points and transportation choices to meet the mobility needs of individuals who no longer drive. Other age-friendly initiatives tackle social needs: creating engaging cultural and outdoor activities, public services and volunteering options. Each community is focusing on its own local challenges and building on its local strengths.

About the Atlanta Regional Commission

The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 69 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues. Additional information about the agencies Lifelong Communities Initiative is available at www.atlantaregional.com/llc.

About Grantmakers In Aging

Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) is an inclusive and responsive membership organization including all types of philanthropies with a common dedication to improve the experience of aging. GIA members have a shared recognition that a society that is better for older adults is a society that is better for people of all ages. For more information, please visit www.giaging.org.

About The Pfizer Foundation

The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. Its mission is to promote access to quality health care, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer colleagues. The Pfizer Foundation provides funding and resources to local and international organizations that expand and improve global health strategies. In 2011, the Foundation provided over $16 million in grants and employee matching gifts to non-governmental organizations around the world. For more information please visit Pfizer.com.

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