Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez and AARP representatives will officially announced details of the innovative initiative, “Age-Friendly Communities,” in a press conference this morning. These communities meet the needs of their residents, a place where residents feel safe and included.
It is that desire to make our cities accessible to all that’s fueling the AARP and the World Health Organization (WHO) “Age-Friendly Communities” effort in Brownsville. Mayor Martinez said the city has committed to joining the Age Friendly Communities effort.
“The City of Brownsville is a fast-growing community, and while we’ve always been a very young and vibrant city, we’re currently seeing population increases in all age groups,” said Mayor Martinez. “One of my goals as Mayor has been to make this a more livable community for our residents – regardless of their age. Initiatives over the past several years have focused on transportation opportunities, accessibility issues, community involvement opportunities, and general quality of life improvements that have been and will continue to be attractive and beneficial to residents of every age and demographic. We’re a growing community, an active community, and even more so now – an Age-Friendly Community.”
With AARP’s help, Brownsville will become a great place for all ages by adopting such features as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities.
“AARP believes independence does not diminish with age, which is why we’re encouraging cities throughout the state to join the growing network of Age-Friendly Communities,” said Bob Jackson, AARP Texas director.
“An effort like this one not only encourages a healthy living environment, but also creates great places for all ages to live.”
Veronica de Lafuente, who leads AARP's work in the Rio Grande Valley, said this is an exciting time for the City of Brownsville. She adds that the city’s leadership has become a progressive city focused on quality of life issues.
“You see this with the hike and bike trails, CycloBia events, The Challenge and now our partnership in committing to become an Age Friendly Community,” said de Lafuente. “While partnering with the City and the Community Action Board we are able to engage community partners in making Brownsville a livable community for all ages."
"As our community continues to age, people are staying healthy and active longer.”
Ensuring all Brownsville residents live comfortably in their homes and communities is the focus of this initiative.
“I’m very proud of the work we have done through investments in programming, infrastructure and education to improve the quality of life for residents of all ages. In the past few years Brownsville has gained momentum towards becoming a vibrant, livable community. There is still more to be done, but innovative partnerships and initiatives such as the Age-Friendly Communities Effort with AARP are the kinds of efforts that will help us build a community that promotes health and active living for everyone,” said Commissioner Gowen.
The Age-Friendly Community concept is defined as one that is: safe and secure, and provides affordable, appropriate housing; has adequate transportation; and has supportive community features and services. Once in place, these resources enhance personal independence, allow residents to age in place, and foster residents’ engagement in the community’s civic, economic, and social life.
"We are excited to be a partner with AARP as we set out to make our city more accessible for Americans of all ages," said Arturo Rodriguez, MPH, Brownsville Director of Public Health.