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The Best Is Yet To Come: New Jersey Future Helps Towns Become Great Places to Age

March 9th, 2020 by

New Jersey Future recently held kickoff meetings in Pompton Lakes in Passaic County and Ridgefield Park in Bergen County as part of its Creating Great Places to Age program, which helps towns ensure that older residents can continue living in their communities and remain active, healthy, and engaged. 

Every day for the rest of the decade, 8,000 members of the Baby Boom generation will turn 65. Given their increasing number of aging residents, towns across the country should be including aging-friendly factors in local planning, such as housing affordability and diversity; transportation; walkability; and access to daily tasks,activities and socialization.

Pompton Lakes meeting.

Pompton Lakes meeting.

Land use is a critical factor in a town’s livability for people of all ages, but especially for older residents.. Through support from The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, New Jersey Future is working with towns to conduct aging-friendly land use assessments and assist with local planning based on the results. As part of the assessment process, New Jersey Future analyzes a town’s downtown center, housing options, access to transportation, and supply of public spaces and amenities, and then provides recommendations for each in an Aging-Friendly Land Use Assessment report. 

Members of the Pompton Lakes and Ridgefield Park Aging-Friendly Land Use Steering Committees participated in their respective February and November kickoff meetings with New Jersey Future to learn about aging-friendly community building and begin the engagement component of the assessment process. The towns’ diverse steering committees are comprised of members from local and county government, community and senior groups, and from the professional fields of public health, engineering, and planning.

Wanaque Ave., Pompton Lakes NJ

Pompton Lakes and Ridgefield Park are suburban towns with populations of approximately 11,000 and 13,000, respectively. Both towns have well-defined mixed-use downtowns, which is typical of many of New Jersey’s older suburban towns that pre-date the rise of the automobile. Similar to New Jersey as a whole, over 25 percent of both towns’ residents are 55 and older. However, both towns are much more developed than the state as a whole. Pompton Lakes and Ridgefield Park are both nearly 100 percent built-out, meaning that almost all the land that can be built on has already been used. Pompton Lakes is currently working to support redevelopment projects and Ridgefield Park is working on a Master Plan update, making the time for New Jersey Future’s planning work with each town ideal. 

Pompton Lakes and Ridgefield Park are two of eight towns currently working with New Jersey Future in becoming more aging-friendly. Want to make your own community more aging-friendly? You can find resources on New Jersey Future’s page about creating great places to age.

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