Looking toward our future downtown

By May 5, 2011

By Carol Bourne

Four couples, including myself and my husband, Dick, are planning to build a four-unit senior project in downtown Davis at the corner of Fourth and D streets. Our decision to do this stems from the lack of adequate senior-friendly homes here in Davis.

When we discovered Davis 33 years ago we were a young family with three children. We were easily able to find a perfect home for our family across from a park, within walking or biking distance to all schools and three grocery stores, and in a neighborhood with plenty of other young children.

Fifteen years later, when two of our children had left home, we decided we wanted a smaller, more energy-efficient home, and we easily found a lot where we could build one.

We have very happily lived in our “new house” for the past 17 years, but several years ago we realized that we weren’t as capable of caring for the large yard and maintaining our home.

We were spending more time traveling, visiting our kids and grandkids and enjoying the freedoms of retirement. At the same time we saw my elderly mother decline in her home, which was too much for her to care for and where she was isolated from others.

We started to search for a place in Davis where we could spend our senior years without those issues. This time we ran into a brick wall.

We considered Covell Village when that was a possibility. Next we started looking for a place downtown, which seemed like the ideal spot for seniors — near the Senior Center and in walking distance to the Food Co-op, restaurants, movies, the UC Davis Arboretum, FarmersMarket, campus activities and other amenities.

First, we looked at the older small homes in and around Old North Davis. While we love that neighborhood, maintenance of the older homes and yards does not fit our new objectives. We looked at several new projects, which had units for sale. But both had two-story units with no elevator to the living spaces.

At this point we decided we would have to create something on our own to accomplish our goals for our last permanent home. Surprisingly quickly, we found three other Davis couples willing to share our dream.

Currently, we live behind the Glacier Circle senior cooperative project in West Davis, and have admired how these friends came together to assure that they would have a good place to age with mutual support as they grow older.

But, as successful as their project has been, they say they should have started 10 years earlier. That is exactly why we are moving forward with our project. We all want to become established in our new neighborhood while we are still relatively young and able to form new friendships, be good neighbors and enjoy the amenities of downtown Davis.

We think there are many other senior residents who feel the same way we do.

For those who cannot take on such a project, it is our hope that our city leaders will continue to address the expanding need for senior-friendly homes, neighborhoods and amenities as they evaluate future projects.

— Carol and Dick Bourne have lived in Davis for 33 years raising their three children. Dick is a mechanical engineer specializing in energy-related products, and started Davis Energy Group with several others shortly after their arrival. Carol is a registered nurse who spent the past 15 years of her career as a home health nurse for Woodland Healthcare. They are members of Choices for Healthy Aging

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