Starting in 2011 the first baby boomers began to turn 65. According to a recent AARP study 10,000 boomers turn 65 every day. This trend will continue until 2030. Clay County’s 65+ population is expected to be between 15 to 19.99% of the population in the next 15 years.
Good chance you’ve already heard or read stories about this demographic trend. Maybe you’ve noticed these changes in your neighborhood or our city. What does this mean for cities? Every city will answer this question differently based on its unique history and goals.
Excelsior Springs is undertaking the challenge to answer this question for our city. Excelsior Springs City Council has committed to become intentional in our city’s approach and response to the anticipated increase of older adults.
We also recognize the Millennial generation, which outnumbers the Boomers by several million, will also age. Fortunately, Boomers and Millennials share similar preferences such as housing, transportation, and walkabout neighborhoods/cities. This means Excelsior Springs is preparing our city not only for boomers as they age, but as a city that our millennial residents may choose to remain throughout their lifespan.
Creating safe pedestrian avenues throughout the community for older adults also provides a community that meets the needs of families with young children.
To date, the City of Excelsior Springs has met the requirements for the Bronze/Awareness level and the Silver/Assessment level. The City is excited to move into the implementation phase of our Communities for All Ages journey by adopting our Parks and Recreation Department’s Strategic Plan. The plan was approved by the Parks and Recreation Board on February 23, 2021, and was presented to City Council on June 7, 2021. The plan details results from a comprehensive community survey that guided the board in its development of the plan. It states that the board had the goal of considering the needs of all ages and abilities when choosing items to include in their strategic plan.
These plans include:
- Building additional trails with plans to accomplish a loop for the Rainbow Trail, to finish a loop around Powell Lake and connect Century Bark, the community’s dog park. (Social Inclusion) The Rotary Club has placed benches along the existing trails to provide a place to rest while enjoying the trails.
- Holding the grand opening of the recently finished Rainbow Splash Park featuring a flat, accessible surface. (Social Inclusion)
- Adding solar lighting the trails and placing musical instruments along the trails.
- Adding an amphitheater using the natural terrace of Century Bark for movies and concerts in the park. (Social Inclusion)
- Naturescapes: Using the natural environment to create play spaces within the parks.
- Modernizing and improving existing playgrounds with newer designs in play equipment, and paving the surfaces to make gazebos and playgrounds accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. (Social Inclusion)
- Building new playgrounds that will feature “facilities that are appropriate for ALL ages and abilities.” Plans are in the works for the new Milwaukee Neighborhood Park that will feature fully inclusive equipment and paved access for wheelchairs and strollers, a protective fence, and a butterfly garden. (Social Inclusion)
- Expansion of services to the senior community through the Excelsior Springs Senior Center housed at the Excelsior Springs Community Center.