Grand Rapids strives to become an age-friendly city

older people riding bikes
Credit: Thinkstock

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Grand Rapids is poised to join AARP’s Age-Friendly Communities Network this year.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, in her State of the City address on Feb. 15, outlined plans to make the state’s second largest city more accessible and accommodating to all ages, with a focus on transportation, housing and communications.

The message was warmly received by the audience of 500 at the historic Clearwater Place event center.

AARP Michigan and city officials have been working together for more than a year to make this happen. The city and AARP have been holding community conversations and conducting phone surveys, gathering more than 2,000 suggestions about how to make the city friendlier for all. Many of those ideas will be considered as the city puts together an updated master plan.

“What’s good for our seniors is good for all of us,” said Bliss, who adds that 1 in 5 Grand Rapids residents are 65 or over.

Bliss distributed 500 copies of “Where We Live: Communities for All Ages,” a book featuring inspiring ideas from America’s community leaders, by AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. Grand Rapids is among the featured cities in the book, highlighting the bicycle safety program “Driving Change.”

As a next step, the city is redeveloping “Grandyland,” a kind of listening session in a board game format, to home in on priorities. Grandyland Game Nights will be scheduled later this year.

Here’s a news report on the Mayor’s address:

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