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Living in Your Community for a Lifetime

Did you know that 89 percent of individuals age 50+ wish to remain in their homes as long as possible? That’s according to an AARP survey which also revealed that many individuals are concerned they won’t be able to live in their homes as they age.

As Louisiana’s older adult population grows, it’s important that our towns and communities prepare for the needs of the fastest growing demographic in the country. Each year the Great Places in Louisiana awards recognize innovative approaches to planning, design, and programs that allow residents to live comfortably in a community throughout a lifetime.

The 2011 Great Places in Louisiana are City-Brooks Community Park in Baton Rouge, Bastrop High School in Bastrop, and Beauregard Town neighborhood in downtown Baton Rouge. The West End Redevelopment Initiative in New Iberia is recognized as an Emerging Great Place award winner.

An initiative of AARP Louisiana, the Lt. Governors’ Office and the Center for Planning Excellence, the award honors those pioneers behind the projects who have rejuvenated their neighborhoods while fostering long-lasting community bonds.

 “The 2011 Great Places in Louisiana award winners represent what it means for a community to be livable. These projects promote accessibility, walkability, sustainability and community engagement from inception to implementation,” said Nancy McPherson, Louisiana State Director, AARP.

Sponsored by AARP Foundation, Acadian On Call, American Planning Association – Louisiana Chapter, Caesars Foundation, Care Innovations and Entergy, winners were recognized at an awards reception at the Manship Theater in Baton Rouge.

“These projects are shining examples of what can be accomplished when citizens are engaged in their communities and working together to make where they live a vibrant place,” said Elizabeth “Boo” Thomas, President and CEO, Center for Planning Excellence.

The Beauregard Town Project revitalized downtown Baton Rouge with beautification projects, such as a lush public garden and community events. The City-Brooks Community Park Project nurtured an underdeveloped park back to life while bringing residents together with exciting social activities. The Bastrop High School transformed a blighted, historical property into a vibrant senior housing community that’s connected to support services in the community. The Westend Redevelopment Initiative has put plans in place to increase mobility, support diverse and affordable housing, and connect the neighborhood with supportive services and healthy living.

“Louisiana is known throughout the world for its authentic, unique culture, and these award-winning communities showcase why Louisiana is the most fascinating place in America,” Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne said.

“These are places where all people of all ages or abilities can live healthy, independent lives, and it’s these people who contribute to the diversity that makes Louisiana famous.”

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