LELAND, NC -- The town of Leland, NC, was once a small settlement where Village Road crossed the Augusta, Columbia, and Wilmington railroad lines. As of 2020, Leland is considered to be one of the fastest-growing towns in North Carolina. That is one big reason why community leaders are taking steps to make sure the growth of the community benefits residents of all ages.
Leland is the latest community in North Carolina to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Through its participation in the Network, Leland, among other things, will be working to provide safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life. Today over 100 million residents in the United States live in over 660 communities that are part of the Network.
AARP North Carolina’s Coastal Region representative Rosalie Calarco explains, “The common thread among these communities is the belief that the places where we live are more livable, and better able to support people of all ages when local leaders commit to improving the quality of life for the very young, the very old, and everyone in between. Well-designed, age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages.”
By joining the Network, AARP will catalyze the education of local leaders (both elected officials and engaged residents) and encourage them to implement the types of changes that make communities more livable for people of all ages, especially older adults.
“The Town of Leland is an amazing place to live, work, and play. We are excited that more families are choosing to call Leland home. With that growth comes the opportunity to continue improving our services and amenities like our parks, the walkability of our streets, and making sure that everyone has transportation options, even if they don’t drive,” Mayor Brenda Bozeman said. “It’s crucial that we are welcoming to everyone and that residents of all ages can access our amenities.”
“Our plan, 'Leland 2045,' supports livable, diverse, and connected neighborhoods that advance the quality of life for residents in all stages of life. The better we connect people, places, and ideas, the greater the opportunities become for our Town. By promoting a sense of belonging, inclusivity, and equity, Leland has the opportunity to meet the needs of our aging population and support the growth of our younger generations,” Community Development Planner Barnes Sutton said.
Leland will also benefit from the information being shared by other members of the Age-Friendly Network including 12 other North Carolina cities, towns, and counties. Each year, AARP also provides North Carolina Community Challenge Grants, funds for quick action projects that improve the lives of people of all ages. This year’s grant winners will be announced in July.
Rosalie Calarco concludes, “The work to become ‘age-friendly’ is a continuous process and it involves many stakeholders. That is why I am so pleased that AARP volunteers are getting involved to help Leland assess its needs, as well as develop and implement a plan to make it the best it can be for everyone who calls Leland home.”
WATCH this video to learn more about “What is a Livable Community.”
This story is provided by AARP North Carolina. Visit the AARP North Carolina page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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