Is Jefferson City a good place for young professionals to live?
Thu, 26 May 2011 00:27:09 GMT —
The latest census numbers only confirmed what Jefferson City leaders have been fearing for the past decade, young adults are fleeing the city.
Officials said it's a problem that needs to be dealt with now to ensure the city's future.
Jefferson City has seen a steady decline in its young population over the last decade with a corresponding increase in the elderly population.
"It's something we're very concerned with," Cole County Commissioner Marc Ellinger said.
Ellinger is joining forces with other leaders to draw the younger crowd back.
"Our whole community is trying to become a more modern, more youthful type of community, Ellinger said. Show the amenities that are out there and encourage younger folks to come here, see what it's like, stay here, live and create jobs, create businesses."
Some said Old Munichburg in Jefferson City was the city's first attempt at revamping itself.
Old buildings were transformed for lofts and storefronts but many said more needs to be done.
"Even if we wanted to walk downtown, this closes down around 9 pm, some places earlier than that, so that doesn't leave many options for us to choose from," young professional Cauiterra Matthews said.
Matthews works downtown and said while she's happy she got a job right after graduation, Jefferson City isn't somewhere she sees herself staying.
"This is like a raise a family, retire, type of environment so for younger people who want to explore more and get to do more in the world, Jefferson City is just not that place for it," Matthews said.
But other young professionals said it's not that bad.
"Whether you're single, whether you're married, whether you're starting a family, whether you're not, there are a lot of young professionals in this town and there are a lot of things for us to do," Stephanie Bell said.
Bell said as young professionals become more involved in community organizations they will learn there's a lot to do.
The city plans to do more, like building-up the downtown entertainment district and forming another entertainment district on the city's central east side.
"I think that offers some opportunities for young people to stay and see that there's more to do in Jefferson City than just work and go home," Ellinger said.
Time will tell if the plan works.
The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce said from 2000 to 2008 the population of 25 to 34-year old decreased nearly 4% while the age range of 55 to 64 grew 54%.
On Thursday the Chamber of Commerce will kick off their Intern Initiative Program.
The program was started in an effort to introduce interns to the Capital City in hopes that one day they may want to call it home.
So far, 29 interns are registered for the program.