December 3, 2020 

Media Contact: 

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412 


ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, County Executive Calvin Ball marked the first anniversary of the detailed “Age-Friendly Howard County” initiative. The initiative encompasses a three- to five-year plan to join the AARP network of age-friendly states and communities, an affiliate of the World Health Organization (WHO). Achieving this designation requires focused efforts to create a “livable” community and ensure Howard County continues to evolve as a great place to grow up and to grow older. 

Since launching Age-Friendly Howard County, the County has: 

  • Surveyed and reviewed results of more than 3,300 people; 

  • Began work group meetings with more than 70 individuals; and 

  • Completed extensive research on existing resources, needed resources, and best practices nationally and internationally. 

“One of the most critical first steps towards a more age-friendly Howard County is community engagement,” said Ball. “Many community members and staff of various county agencies are identifying concepts, ideas, research, the results of surveys, studies, and observing what works in other communities. The current public health crisis has only highlighted the urgent need of creating a community that is age-friendly and increases the quality of life for all our residents. Achieving this designation requires focused efforts to create a ‘livable’ community and ensure Howard County continues to evolve as a great place to grow up and to grow older.” 

Several initiatives of the Office of Transportation and Department of Public Works projects, with support from community leaders and organizations, have taken the county closer toward attaining age-friendliness: 

  • The adoption of the WalkHoward Plan that identified over $14 million in pedestrian improvements and recommended 43 structured projects for consideration in the Capital budget. 

  • Six replacement buses to improve the quality and reliability of RTA service. 

  • Launch of the Real Time Bus information application. 

  • Creation of the Complete Streets implementation team of 14 private and public sector individuals and adoption of a Complete Streets community engagement plan. 

  • Policy changes like the new sidewalk expansion policy creates easier approval for sidewalk projects—vital to getting out, staying active and sagely remaining involved in community. 

  • Completion of multiple capital projects to improve walking and biking in Howard County including several traffic signal projects, construction of pedestrian refuge islands and miles of sidewalk reconstruction. 

  • Neighbor Ride volunteers have been working tirelessly to support those in need of food delivery from the Office on Aging and Independence-sponsored Grab & Go Food Distribution Program set up in April 2020 in response to COVID-19.   

“We are fortunate to live in a place where people are willing to come together around initiatives like this to create a community where everyone has access to what they need to live a quality life,” said Jaqueline R. Scott, Director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services.  “In just one short year we have seen community members come together to earnestly work on creating policies, develop programs, and harness resources for neighbors of all ages.  The progress we’ve made, in spite of the pandemic has truly been inspiring. “ 

“The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities encourages states, cities, towns and counties to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults,” said Hank Greenberg, State Director for AARP Maryland. “By doing so, these communities are better equipped to become great places, and even lifelong homes, for people of all ages. Howard County has done a remarkable job working toward creating a community that facilitates healthy behaviors through walking and biking, as well as increased transportation options. Despite the many challenges COVID 19 has created, Howard County has pushed on and AARP Maryland offers them our most sincere congratulations on the one year anniversary of their Age Friendly Community effort.” 

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