NEWPORT — At a press conference Thursday, Newport Mayor Paul Monette and the City of Newport were formally recognized for the city’s commitment and progress to date as a participant in AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities.
Last year, Mayor Monette, with support from city council and the community, committed Newport to become Vermont’s first city to gain such distinction. Since then, an active Advisory Council made up of 20 local government and community leaders from both the business and non-profit sectors, is leading the effort.
The group is just completing a county-wide survey examining the needs and concerns of residents around issues such as housing, transportation/mobility, pedestrian safety, social participation, community support and services among others.
On behalf of the city, Mayor Monette accepted a plaque officially acknowledging the city’s acceptance into the global network of cities that are preparing for rapid population aging focusing on the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. Monette stressed how the city is embracing the changing demographics of an aging population by focusing on safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options as well as access to key services and community engagement opportunities for all ages.
As Newport plans for major redevelopment of its downtown and economic base, the city and its partners, including AARP Vermont and the Newport City Renaissance Corp., are looking at ways to prepare for a rapidly aging population.
“Whether you are 8 or 80, your community should be an inclusive and accessible environment that encourages active and healthy aging – what we at AARP call an Age Friendly Community,” said Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP. “Newport’s Age Friendly Advisory Council has been active over the last six months in developing a comprehensive household survey that was sent to over 3000 residents living in Orleans County focused on measures of livability. The data will allow us to determine where there are gaps and identify opportunities for improvement – we will take this data to develop our action plan in the coming year,” she said.
Also speaking yesterday were Brenda Neff of North Country Hospital and Patricia Sears, AARP’s volunteer state president.
“I am truly grateful for the determination and commitment to this effort by Mayor Monette and the members of the Advisory Council,” said Kelly Stoddard Poor.Are you on Instagram? Cool. So are we. CLICK HERE to follow us for a behind the scenes look at Newport Dispatch.