Opinion: Columbus Needs to Commit to Age-Friendly Communities

ColumbusUnderground.com Features by: Michael Stinziano

In addition to the 2 million current residents confirmed by the Census Bureau last Thursday, Columbus is projected to grow by more than 500,000 people over the next 30 years, largely in the age group 65 and older. As we look around the community that we’ve grown into, and the large number of young professional and workers we’ve attracted to Columbus, it’s crucial we plan for our growing and aging population. I am committed, along with my colleagues on City Council, to ensuring that Columbus remains America’s Opportunity City for all residents.

Age-Friendly Columbus is a new collaborative planning effort focused on our residents 50 and older. Over the period of 2 years, community officials and civic leaders, including the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, AARP Ohio and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, will assess the age-friendliness of the City of Columbus through research, fieldwork, and outreach. Along with my great friend, mentor and senior advocate, Vice-Chair Fran Ryan, I will be guiding the Age-Friendly Columbus project as Chair of the Advisory Council.

A recent local study — insight2050 — found that most of the area’s growth in coming decades will be rooted in larger numbers of aging baby boomers (nearly 45 percent) and people younger than 35 (probably more than 25 percent). That’s a big shift from 1990 to 2010, when residents in their middle years, 35 to 64 years old, accounted for nearly 80 percent of the region’s growth.

Age-Friendly Columbus is a city-wide initiative to ensure that residents of all ages can continue living in their homes and enjoy safe and active lives. We will be hearing and working with residents, professionals, and researchers to build a strong understanding of what services exist for our seniors and what services are needed for continuous improvement.

I want Columbus to be a city where residents can live comfortably, easily get to and from work, to health care services, the library, grocery stores and recreation facilities, enjoy public places with family, and find the services they need at any age.

My experience at the Statehouse taught me to listen to constituents, and I heard a powerful message from older adults. Seniors want to continue living in their homes as long as they can. That’s why I sponsored bipartisan legislation to help fund the investments that are needed to promote independent living for older Ohioans who often live in homes that were built in earlier decades when accessibility was not necessarily a priority for builders and homeowners.

Our residents love our city, their neighborhoods and, especially, their homes. They want to stay in their homes and are ready to work toward a solution. I want Columbus to be Age-Friendly and hope you’ll join me in supporting this important initiative.

If you’d like to share your vision for an Age-Friendly Columbus, or anytime that I can be of help or service, please call me at (614) 645-8084, or email me at mstinziano@columbus.govand I will do everything I can to help.

Also, please visit www.morpc.org/age-friendly/for information on Age-Friendly Columbus and my City Council website www.columbus.gov/stinziano/ often to learn more about my work to improve life for the residents and businesses of our community.

 

Michael Stinziano

Columbus City Councilmemebr

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