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Survey shows Troy great place to retire

Features Editor

A recently completed community inventory assessment has cited Troy as a great place to retire.

Shelia Jackson, tourism director for the city of Troy, said research and interviews with local officials by staff members of the Center for Economic Development at Jacksonville State University focused on the retirement amenities migratory retirees look for when assessing a community as a permanent place to retire.

"When matched up with the amenities retirees want, Troy is highly rated," Jackson said.

Jacksonville State University initiated the pioneering research in retiree attraction as an economic development strategy providing an alternative to "smoke-stack chasing" for rural Alabama communities.

"According to the JSU Center, one affluent retiree locating in a community is the equivalent to three factory workers as far as economic impact," Jackson said. "Retirees create no burden on infrastructure and they bring outside funds directly into a community. They also generally have a disposable income far greater than that of the average working member of the population and they spend it locally."

Jackson said the JSU Center looked at how Troy measured up to what migratory retirees want.

"In searching for the ideal location, these retirees consider a number of amenities," Jackson said. "These amenities include low crime rates, good medical facilities nearby, low overall cost of living, mild climate, low overall taxes, low housing cost, convenient shopping, friendly neighbors, a major city nearby and an active social/cultural environment."

According to the JSU Center report, surveys show that most retirees prefer small towns and rural areas as better places to make ends meet and to get in touch with more important values.

"These retirees see the overall quality of life as being better outside of larger cities, but want to be within a reasonable distance of one for the amenities if offers," Jackson said.

Jackson said the strengths for retirement in Troy included proximity to higher education institutions, low crime rates, low property tax, low cost of living, abundant outdoor recreation, excellent senior complex, small town atmosphere, proximity to Montgomery, good medical care, involved and active city management, good Internet access, good wireless telecommunications services, quality housing at reasonable rates and good commercial development.

"Of course, Troy has other amenities that all other South Alabama towns have like a mild climate, scenic attractions and friendly people," Jackson said. "But, we also have good air and water quality, good fire protection, historic buildings and areas and proximity to regional air transportation.

"Troy has a lot to offer retirees as well as people of all ages. Those of us who live and work in Troy know what a great place Troy is to live, now a lot of other people will know what we’ve known all along."

The JSU study was funded by a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to help communities determine how closely they match with what retirees are searching for and to determine what strategy they can use to attract retirees.