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Cape Fear 2020: Baby boomers retiring in southeast

WILMINGTON -- There are about 80 million baby boomers in the United States, and many of them are retiring here in the southeast. An estimated 15 million baby boomers will move to the southeast over the next 15 years. This region is already seeing the growth. When Jerry and Patty VanSchaick looked for places to retire, they kept their options open. "I said, I want to be some place near the water, and Patty said she wanted to be somewhere where there's four seasons, and that was about as far as we had gotten," Vanschaick said. "And then a friend of ours came up and said, well you have to go down and see Wilmington, North Carolina and we said, isn't that in Delaware?" They soon learned Wilmington, North Carolina was just the place for them. Originally from New York and California, they've been retired in their Landfall home for two years. Patty said, "The people are so friendly. They just seem to welcome you. And then the age mix, you've got older people, you've got younger people." Ken Kirkman is the general manager for Landfall Realty. He says baby boomers fill about 20 percent of Landfall's 1,400 homes. Kirkman said,"They're looking for water, they're looking for healthcare, they're looking for climate, and they're looking culture and we have all of them." That's just what appealed to the Vanschaicks. VanSchaick said, "Wilmington is really the best compromise. You got the wonderful beach, the wonderful communities to live in, but at the same time you have all the wonderful facilities a medium to large size city has." Kirkman said the baby boomers will keep on moving here and the region needs to be ready. "The challenge in our area is going to be to accommodate that growth while still being attractive to those people who do not want to come to a major metropolitan area." The Vanschaicks say Wilmington is their last stop, and they plan to enjoy every bit of it. "I love to play golf and this is golf paradise over here. You can play all winter long," Vanschaick said. Looking down the road the US Census Bureau estimates there will be nearly 60 million baby boomers living in the US in the year 2030.

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Area Invasion

Yes, the retirees are coming, the college students are coming, the illegals are coming, (in some opinions, the yankees and carpetbaggers are coming), and now the baby boomers are coming. We must really be a "distinctive destination."