The Upper East Side of Texas is Home to More Certified Retirement Communities Than Any Other Region in the State



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The Upper East Side of Texas seems to be a magnet for certified retirement communities, which work with the state to bring retirees to settle in the region. Each new retiree household is, according to one expert, equivalent to adding 1.4 factory jobs to a community.

Many communities in the Upper East Side of Texas participate in the community. In fact, of the first 30 Certified Retirement Communities (CRC), 18 were in this region including the first three originally certified: Athens, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches County on November 15, 2006.

With 41 total sites in Texas, others in this part of the state are Atlanta, Canton, DeKalb, Franklin County, Gun Barrel City, Henderson, Jacksonville, Kaufman, Longview, Mineola, Palestine, Panola County, Paris, Pittsburg, Polk County, Sabine County, San Augustine County, Shelby County, Texarkana, and Winnsboro.

The program is designed to help Texas communities encourage retirees and potential retirees to make their homes in Texas communities. Still in its, so to speak, infancy, communities say that certification has contributed to economic development projects and impacted the community both economically and with active, involved new residents.

For example, according to state research, Winnsboro reports improvements related to the program including construction of an assisted living center, a large apartment complex, an aqua therapy facility, a cottage home development, and a four-story hotel plus being a part of the city earning its art district designation.

According to that same research, a 250-acre housing development is in the works in Mineola.

In Atlanta, leaders tout a new senior citizen building funded and built by community residents and community renovation to attract fine dining plus increased community awareness, local advertising, and requests for relocation packets.

Athens also reports increased requests for relocation and visitor packets plus cottage homes development.

Nacogdoches County touts a bigger statewide profile, an energized community thinking about promotional opportunities, and focusing on areas to improve. As one of the first three CRCs, the county also reports a lot of regional and national media coverage.

“I extend my most sincere congratulations to the citizens and leaders of the communities that have achieved this notable certification,” said Todd Staples, commissioner of the Texas Agriculture Department which runs the program through its Rural Economic Development Division. “Not only do retirees have a significant economic impact on the regions in which they reside, but they also bring a wealth of knowledge and energy to community service, employment and business.”

The CRC program promotes Texas as a retirement destination to retirees and potential retirees both in and outside Texas, helps Texas communities market themselves as desirable retirement locations and develop communities that retirees would find attractive for a retirement lifestyle, help develop retirement communities and long-term living communities for economic development purposes and provide a potential workforce and enriching Texas communities, and encourage tourism to Texas to evaluate the state as a desirable retirement location and for visiting those who have retired in this state. Bill Haas of the University of North Carolina’s Institute for the Future of Retirement estimates that the economic impact of a retiree household moving to a state is the equivalent of 1.4 factory jobs.

At least six states – Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia in addition to Texas – have certified programs representing 70 or so towns or counties. Another group of states including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina have similar programs on smaller scales than Texas. New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and India also have programs.

The state’s straightforwardly named website, www.retireintexas.org, points out that each certified community has demonstrated that it can meet the living, employment/volunteer, health, entertainment, education and safety needs of its residents and visitors.

The site also points out that Texas is the second most popular state for retirees for reasons including “low costs, plenty of space, warm weather, exciting cities, lively college towns, charming small towns, and hundreds of interesting active adult communities.” The lack of a state income tax is another draw.

Other tidbits on the site include some Texas history and links to tourism, music and the other arts, outdoor recreation and wildlife, accommodations and dining, and more.

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