by Mayor Simison

As Meridian evolves as a community, I want to ensure that we are the premier place to live for people of all ages, including our senior citizens. That’s why, in 2021, I enrolled the City of Meridian in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Cities that join this Network commit to going through a process of assessment, action plan creation, and implementation, all with the ultimate goal to determine and develop age-friendly initiatives that our citizens want to see implemented in our community. Age-friendly initiatives are policies, projects, and programs that make communities livable for all people, irrespective of age, ability level, income, socioeconomic status, and so on.

Since 2010, the median age of a Meridian resident has increased from 32 to 36, and the population of Meridian residents aged 65 or older has increased from 8.9% to 12.8% of the overall population. According to census projections, by 2034, there will be more people aged 65 and older in the United States than there will be children below the age of 18—a first in the history of the U.S. census. Trends like these confirm something that the City of Meridian has always understood: it is vital to recognize and plan around the needs and concerns of older residents. Everybody ages, so by ensuring that our community takes the needs of older adults into account, we’re also ensuring that everyone growing up in our community will have access to the resources they need at every stage of life.

The Meridian Livability Initiative, formed in partnership with AARP Idaho, is currently in the assessment stage of this process. The assessment stage involves figuring out what the needs and priorities are in our community. What improvements do our citizens want? What existing amenities need more support, or more publicity? What gaps exist where an age-friendly project, program, or policy can make a difference? To help answer these questions, we are especially interested in the insights of older adults, whose collective wisdom and experience is crucial in determining our priorities.

To help the City collect these insights, I encourage Meridian residents who are at least 50 years old to complete our age-friendly survey. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete, and all responses to the survey will be kept confidential. You can take the online version of the survey HERE. Hard copies are available in the front lobby desk on the ground floor of Meridian City Hall (33 E. Broadway Ave) and may be submitted to the Mayor’s Office on the third floor of Meridian City Hall. If you have any questions about the survey or the Meridian Livability Initiative, or if you would like to request hard copies of the survey, email livability@meridiancity.org or call (208) 489-0534.

By taking the initiative now, we can have the infrastructure in place we need and want as we mature. Ultimately, it will help us achieve our vision of being the West’s premier community in which to live, work and raise a family.