Yes, Peoria | Retirement Destination – Florida? Texas? Peoria!

Yes Peoria

LINDA & STEVE FAIRBANKS

We are at the stage of life where as a couple we are halfway into retirement. One of us is already there, the other has a way to go. So we spend a lot of time discussing this topic. How and where do we want to spend those so-called golden years?

So far, we intend to stay put, finding Peoria to be a great place not only to work, but also eventually retire. The idea of moving across the country to Florida or Texas seems like the opposite of what one would want to do in retirement when you finally have time to spend with friends and family doing the things with them that you always wanted.

We’re in good company on this. According to Kiplinger’s finance newsletter most baby boomers do intend to stay put or downsize in or near their current community during retirement. Bert Sperling, who runs Sperling’s Best Places (www.bestplaces.net), which ranks 370 metro areas on various factors including quality of life in retirement, says that only about 15 percent of people in households with incomes of more than $100,000 move to new destinations when they retire.

Consider the factors most experts recommend be taken into consideration when deciding where to retire –– job opportunities for older residents, housing options, crime rates, hospitals offering geriatric services, levels of senior volunteerism, access to fitness centers, investment in public transportation and the availability of arts and education institutions.

Peoria as a location hits all those factors. There are job opportunities and good affordable housing options. The crime rate for a city of our size is below average and we have the University of Illinois College of Medicine and two award-winning hospitals in our midst. We have a fitness center with a great riverfront location, good public transportation and access to arts and several educational institutions for continually curious seniors.

Consider Peoria’s burgeoning art scene. Peoria is home to a Fine Art Fair and Sculpture Walk on SW Washington with sculptures from local, regional and national artists. Arts Partners, which is supported by the city, has been successful in promoting artists and art organizations with events like Ignite Art & Makers Fest at our own Peoria Civic Center! The Big Picture art festival recently drew hundreds of people and local artists to a residential and art district that up to a few years ago was an abandoned warehouse district.

Steve’s the retired one. He’s always on the move! And he’s fortunate to have good health to do pretty much what he wants to do. (Then there’s that hip.) Steve was the city’s neighborhood development specialist for 10 years. He continues doing similar work by serving on the board of the East Bluff Community Center and as a member of Peoria Community Against Violence.

Steve is a musician and plays in Peoria’s vibrant local music scene as one of a duo called Random Strangers with his partner, retired Peoria city fire captain Chuck Maheiu. They’ve been together nearly five years and have had the good fortune to get gigs in many area bars, restaurants, fundraisers and private parties. One weekend in October there were 35 different music events in the Peoria area!

All this in Peoria! If you seek it, and want it, you can find it and do it! Peoria! Yes!

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