Johnston Applies For ‘Retire NC Community’ Designation

Donna Bailey-Taylor, Johnston County Visitors Bureau President, discusses the advantages of the Retire NC Community program with Johnston County Commissioners on July 8, 2019. Commissioners authorized Bailey-Taylor to apply for the program. Photo

By the year 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older.  This means that one out of every 5 US residents will have reached retirement age.  More local governments are joining the NC Retire initiative to promote their communities.  Johnston County is one of the latest.

On behalf of Johnston County, the Johnston County Visitors Bureau (JCVB) has applied to become a Retire NC county with the NC Economic Development Partnership – Tourism Department to promote the County as a desirable location for retirees.

Visitors Bureau President Donna Bailey-Taylor said, “The Visitors Bureau will pay the annual fee and participate in tradeshows with VisitNC to promote Johnston County as a destination to visit and retire to. We now have three 55 plus retirements communities and of course, several golf course communities to market.”

Bailey-Taylor said that until a recent change by the NC Legislature to allow counties to apply and the cost to participate was reduced, becoming a Retire NC community was not feasible.  “We are currently the first county to start the application process.”

“This will add another avenue in which to market Johnston County…” Bailey-Taylor said.

The Retire NC Certified Retirement Community Program was passed by the NC General Assembly in July 2008.  The program is designed to encourage retirees and those planning to retire to make their homes in North Carolina.  Visit NC assists member communities with marketing efforts to retirees, assists in developing retirement communities and long-term living facilities, and encourages tourism to North Carolina to evaluate the state as a desirable retirement location and for visiting those who have retired in the state.

Commissioner Jeff Carver questioned the potential impact of a large increase in retirees on hospital and senior services and primary care physicians.  “It’s something we have to plan for,” Carver said.

County Commissioners unanimously approved the JCVB’s request to apply for the Retire NC designation.