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St. Petersburg Strives to Be More Age-Friendly

Livable Drawing
Boffeli, Seth

With nearly a third of its residents 55 and older, St. Petersburg is working to better address the needs of its aging population.

The city recently joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, part of a World Health Organization initiative.

It promotes livability in eight areas: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.

St. Petersburg officials hope to integrate it with ongoing efforts such as Healthy St. Pete, an initiative to improve health throughout the community, and Complete Streets, which aims to create a safe transportation network for all users, not just motor vehicles.

“This really benefits everyone in the community,” said Laura Cantwell, AARP associate state director for advocacy.

The city will consult with experts and Florida’s six other member communities, said Sherry McBee, St. Petersburg’s administrator of leisure services. But more important, she said, is talking to residents: “Asking questions rather than assuming you know what people’s needs and wants are.”

AARP also plans to gather residents’ input through events such as town hall meetings throughout the city. —George Edmonson

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