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City of Mount Airy joins the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities

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MOUNT AIRY, NC -- Preparing for an aging population that continues to grow, the City of Mount Airy, NC,  joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities to improve domains of livability that benefit residents of all ages. By joining this network, the city will work on improvements in transportation options, access to health care, the use of open spaces, social inclusion and more.

AARP Associate State Director for the Triad Region Mark Hensley explains, “Mount Airy is one of 469 cities, towns and rural areas that are part of the AARP Network. The common thread of 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.”

Hensley said, “The work that happens within the Network — which is a program within the larger AARP Livable Communities initiative — is hands-on and locally determined and directed.”

AARP engages with elected officials, partner organizations and local leaders to guide communities through the age-friendly network’s assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation processes. Mount Airy was already the beneficiary of an AARP Livable Communities grant in 2019 that helped support the enhancement and expansion of the city greenway.

Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Surry County, Mount Airy is home to over 10,000 residents.  This picturesque town once served as the backdrop of the fictitious town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show that aired from October 1960 until April 1968.  Today, tourism is a thriving heartbeat bringing thousands of visitors each year to the Andy Griffith Museum, Aunt Bea’s Restaurant and shops highlighting souvenirs from the black and white television show that shaped our society.

Darren Lewis, Parks and Recreation Director said, “More than a quarter of the town’s population, or 26.6%, are age 60 and older. Access to safe, physical activity is a part of what makes communities livable and has been an immediate priority of the city. Today, Mount Airy offers 30 miles of sidewalks, 6.6 miles of greenway space and 7 community parks that assist residents in their ability to walk, run and bike.

Mount Airy has a diverse recreation department that encourages programs, activities and facilities for people of all ages.  Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Department is a thriving facility with 25% of the city’s population as participating attendees,” Lewis said.

Hensley concludes, “People of all ages benefit from the adoption of policies and programs that make neighborhoods walkable, feature transportation options, enable access to key services, provide opportunities to participate in community activities, and support housing that’s affordable and adaptable. Well-designed, age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages.”

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