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Effort aims to make Dakota County cities senior-friendly

The Dakota County Communities for a Lifetime Initiative aims to make communities a good place to grow up and grow older. As part of the initiative the department of health is asking cities to establish groups that work to ensure that goal.

On Tuesday, Jess Luce, a Communities for a Lifetime Initiative supervisor, explained the program to the Rosemount City Council and encouraged them to form a group.

Luce said over the next 10 years the number of people over 65 is projected to increase by 67 percent. Furthermore, in 2030, it is projected that people 65 years and older will make up 20 percent of the population.

The change in population highlights challenges in a number of areas including housing, planning and zoning, transportation, lifelong learning, civic opportunities and health services. By addressing issues in advance, Luce said, communities can better serve their residents.

"There are all sorts of benefits to everyone," said Luce.

Communities for a Lifetime supports the health and vitality of people of all ages and abilities. By responding to the needs of seniors, Luce said, cities can help a variety of people.

Luce used curb cuts as an example. The installation of ramps at street crossings helps seniors with mobility issues as well as parents with strollers and kids on bicycles.

Luce said each community has its own challenges, which is why he encourages each city to start a group to examine itself and address issues where they exist.

City administrator Dwight Johnson said the council can discuss the formation of a group at a future work session.

For more information on the Communities for a Lifetime Intiative visit the Dakota County website at

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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