I know by now you’ve heard me say that I have a vision of Tucker as a place where you can “live, work, play and pray”. I talked about that when I was campaigning for office way back in 2015, I’ve mentioned it in speeches when representing Tucker in other cities, and they are words that I truly mean from the bottom of my heart; I wish that for all of us here in this great city.
But there’s a second part to the “live, work, play, pray” concept that I’m not sure everyone has caught on to. When I talk about being that community where you can basically do everything in life, I also mention I want for you to be able to do it “for the length of your life and the breadth of your life.” That’s a really important point. We like seeing young couples move in here as much as the next city does. But you know what’s even better? When we create a place where that young couple can raise their children, become empty nesters, retire and live out their days all in the same place.
That’s the concept of an age-friendly city.
According to the World Health Organization, Tucker is an age-friendly city. It’s an official designation, and it’s one we’re very proud of. Now don’t get me wrong, I played a very, very small role in us receiving this distinction. The credit really goes to a group of dedicated volunteers, who petitioned the WHO to make this happen. (Side note: isn’t it always a group of dedicated volunteers making things happen here in Tucker?)
Tucker resident Lois Ricci led a team that poured over the WHO criteria for becoming an age-friendly city. They wrote letters, worked with city staff and, ultimately, submitted an application for Tucker, which the WHO accepted. Recently, we found out our age-friendly designation was reaffirmed by the WHO for another three years.
Why does this matter? Well, from a global perspective, it’s estimated that the 60+ population is going to double by mid-century. By 2050, 22 percent of people on planet Earth will be 60 or older. So, the steps we’re taking here in Tucker are only going to become more important. That includes things like installing wheelchair ramps at the ends of our new sidewalk projects, building senior adult playground equipment in places like Peters Park, working with MARTA to install simme-seats at bus stops, senior programming at Tucker Recreation Center and on and on.
As someone who will, before long, be in that 60+ category, I am grateful for the work that is being done to make Tucker age-friendly. Moreover, I am proud of those volunteers, like Lois, who are invariably the engine that keeps Tucker going strong. And that’s true for all of its citizens.