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November 20, 2013

City seeking public's help with designation

TARBORO — Tarboro officials are asking the public to join them in making the town a Certified Retirement Community. In an effort to boost the economy, the town is seeking the designation. The Retirement Community Program is a marketing tool that uses a state website to attract retirees and visitors to communities.

Tarboro is in the process of completing an application for the designation,  which was initiated in June with the approval of the town council. There is a $10,000 fee charged for the completed application, but is refunded if the town is not selected. Tarboro Planning Officer Josh Edmondson said the town is about halfway through the application process.

"This needs to be a community effort and not just the town," said  Edmondson. "It's going to take everybody working together to make this work."

"What will it do for Tarboro?," Edmondson asked. "It'll help us market Tarboro and move Tarboro in a direction where it has never been before."

Edmondson said some local businesses have pledged their support by offering discounts and bargains to seniors. The town will also be counting on civic clubs and other organizations to offer ideas and events centered around seniors that can help Tarboro earn the Retirement Community designation.

"We are in the last half (of the application process) and we want to get the community engaged," Edmondson said. "It has been interesting for me. In doing my research, I found Tarboro had lots of stuff that I didn't know about."

Morgan Whitehurst, Tarboro Parks & Recreation Department senior center supervisor, is assisting Edmondson with the application process. Whitehurst appears to be as excited about the idea as Edmondson.

"This is about the town partnering with the community," she said. "It will be beneficial to both."

The program's objective is to encourage retirees and those planning to retire, to make North Carolina their home and promote the state as a retirement destination. So far, only six towns in the state hold that designation, including  Eden, Lumberton, Pittsboro, Ashboro, Mt. Airy and Sanford. Edmondson would like Tarboro to join the ranks.

"We are seeking people to let us know what they can do," he said. "One way of doing that is to write letters or give us a call. There's a lot of ways that people can participate."

For more information contact Edmondson at 641-4249 or Whitehurst at 641-4279.

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