National spotlight: AARP names GJ as one of top five cities to retire

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Grand Junction has a way of landing in the national spotlight, most recently with President Obama and Governor Romney’s visits to the Valley. Now, Grand Junction is making national news again.

The AARP, or American Association of Retired Persons, has the world's largest-circulated magazine. If you flipped through the pages of the most recent issue of AARP Magazine, you may have noticed the place we call home was named as one of the “Best Places to Live on $100 A Day” for retired persons. KKCO 11 News found out why we were chosen in the Top 5, and how this news is affecting our city.

Where are you going to move after you retire? It’s a question resident John Hopkins received from people all across the country when he retired as the Rocky Mountain Health Plans C.E.O. three years ago.

"We had never even considered living anywhere else," Hopkins said.

Hopkins and his wife have called Grand Junction home for 35 years. As far as he’s concerned, there’s no intention of ever leaving.

"This place just has everything we're looking for. It has all of the outdoor activities that we enjoy, it has the community spirit we enjoy, and it’s a nice size of community," Hopkins said.

That was the message he gave AARP Magazine for its story on the best places to retire. He’s quoted in the magazine.

"[AARP was] going to be writing this article with regard to places to retire that were economical," Chamber of Commerce C.E.O. Diane Schwenke said.

The magazine contacted the Grand Junction Chamber about three months ago to get information about the city and inform them of the decision to include Grand Junction as one of its top 5 cities to retire. The story credits Grand Junction’s inexpensive but plentiful recreation options, quaint downtown area and of course, housing and living affordability.

"We’ve started to see just a little bit of a pick-up in requests for relocation information," Schwenke said of the article’s impact.

Schwenke says this type of exposure will drive future retiree decisions, and maybe sway more to make Grand Junction their final home four to five years from now. Already this year, however, local real estate brokers say they’ve seen an increase in the number of retirees looking for housing in the area.

"Lowest [housing] prices I’ve seen in a long time," Bray Real Estate broker Linda Gilmore said.
“As far as a small city, there's so much to do around here. We have a good university, so if they want to take classes they can do that, we have a symphony, [and] we have an art center."'

Gilmore also says this national exposure and the want to get out of bigger cities is another reason some look to retire in Grand Junction. According to the Bray Report, the median price of homes in Mesa County is $165,000.

Grand Junction provides homes for children, adults and families alike. For retirees, however, this really is the life.

"Retired life is wonderful. It's a really nice time of life," Hopkins said.

Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Omaha and Gainesville, Fla. Joined Grand Junction in the AARP’s top five places to retire.

This article can be found in the August/September 2012 AARP Magazine issue.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by mg Location: gj on Aug 18, 2012 at 03:02 PM
    great more retirees from the city -- east and west coast - and their meth head - gang related children- grandchildren.
  • by Mr. Vanderbilt on Aug 18, 2012 at 09:53 AM
    $36,500 per year to live here. Cool. May be I'll make more when I retire.
  • by Disgusted Location: Ritterville on Aug 18, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    Well that sure explains why the AARP supported the travesty known as Obummercare that was snuck though under cover of darkness and holiday by democrat cowards. Just follow the money..........
  • by justice2 Location: gj on Aug 18, 2012 at 06:57 AM
    There are plenty of good paying jobs for the special people and their children in government. Look at the school district, the prosecutors office, city and county. Grand Junction, the land of corruption.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM in reply to justice2
      County jobs are a joke, if this is what you aspire to, the bar is pretty low for you.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
    I guess its ok to retire here cause you sure cant make a living in this hole. Walmart will have to start adding more doors to their stores.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 18, 2012 at 06:38 AM in reply to
      Boom and bust junktowne! Home of sub par service related jobs and minimum wage, it has always been this way and always wil.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
    Did they mention the meth problem in the magazine?
    • reply
      by jfk on Aug 18, 2012 at 06:51 AM in reply to Anonymous
      Good reasons for you to leave !
  • by SAM Location: Grand Junction on Aug 17, 2012 at 07:36 PM
    It would be interesting to know exactly what was taken into account for the $100 a day figure. I doubt very seriously if any one could live very well on a $100 a day in Grand Junction. Not with the cost of living and taxation being what it is in Grand Junction. I wonder who or what institution in Grand Junction paid AARP to publish the article.
  • by Oh Great on Aug 17, 2012 at 05:16 PM
    More old people on the road... cool.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM in reply to Oh Great
      Yep. That means a few more cars crashing through storefronts each year.
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