Loveland Takes Top Spot

By Rachel Carter
Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

The vote is in: Loveland is No. 1. The article, "The 15 Best Places to Reinvent Your Life," which appears in the May/June 2003 issue of the AARP magazine, names Loveland and Fort Collins the top towns to do just that.

A recent AARP Survey found more than 708 percent of people over the age of 45 plan to continue working during their "retirement years."

Because baby boomers move infrequently - only 4.7 percent of those ages 45 to 54 move across county lines every year, and even fewer move across state lines -
finding the perfect place to live is a must. The AARP, an education and advocacy group for people age 50 and older with 35 million members, sought out the best towns in America to retire and to "reinvent."

The article gave many reasons to set up housekeeping in the not-so-sleepy town of Loveland.

While housing prices in Loveland are above the national average of $161,600 and still rising - $198,655 in Loveland and $221,714 in Fort Collins - living in the area is well worth it. And Loveland is far less expensive than other towns such as Boulder, "a long-popular city that has many similar amenities."

With a view of the mountains, a short drive to Denver's urban center or to popular outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and biking, Loveland is ideally situated in the Front Range corridor. And with a diverse economy fueled by business ranging from technology to art, residents' options are broad.

The AARP also found Loveland's "outdoor urban paradise" - Lake Loveland, Benson Sculpture Park, golf courses, athletic fields and bike paths - an attractive quality of the town.

In order; the other towns included in the top 15 cities were Bellingham, Wash., Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C., Sarasota, Fla., Fayetteville, Ark., Charleston, S.C. Asheville, N.C., San Diego, Calif., San Antonio, Texas, Santa Fe, N.M., Gainesville, Fla., Iowa City, Iowa, Portsmouth, N.H., Spokane, Wash. and Ashland, Ore.

The AARP research team considered 10 criteria in choosing the cities:

  • Availability of jobs
  • Affordable housing
  • Culture and entertainment
  • Access to outdoor recreation
  • Safety
  • Colleges and universities
  • Sense of community
  • Health care facilities
  • Good schools
  • Public transportation

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