The action plan to make Macon-Bibb County more age-friendly, in the works for a year, is finished.
Produced by a 28-member volunteer group, the plan will be submitted to AARP and the World Health Organization as an essential step in maintaining the Age-Friendly Community designation those bodies bestowed on Macon-Bibb in August 2012. Macon-Bibb was the first area in the United States to be given that title.
To keep it, however, the community has to work to improve senior-citizen access to eight domains -- outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community and health services.
The action plan was presented at a meeting of the volunteer group Tuesday at the Middle Georgia Regional Commission office.
Karen Cooper, AARP associate state director for outreach in Georgia, said Tuesdays meeting was meant to not only celebrate work on the plan but also to encourage further efforts in making the recommendations a reality. Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart and Macon Mayor Robert Reichert -- mayor-elect of the Macon-Bibb consolidated government -- have been supporters of the age-friendly initiative from the start, Cooper said. That backing is expected to continue under the new government that takes over in January, she said.
The plan summarizes current conditions, opportunities for improvement, current age-friendly projects and recommendations for future action in each domain.
For example, recommendations for the outdoor spaces and buildings domain are: get more media coverage of safety improvements, plan more senior and family activities in parks, find out best practices from other successful parks, make sure local parks have age-friendly features, and put regular community athletic activities in the Parks & Recreation Department newsletter.
Sam Henderson, executive assistant to the mayor, told the assembled group that he hopes their plan will influence all sorts of community planning.
It sounds like an ending, but this is really the beginning, he said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.