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Along the Rocky Mountains' front range in scenic northern Colorado, Loveland (population 83,000) is known as the "Sweetheart City" and often lands on "best places to live" lists. It is sometimes considered a bedroom community of larger Fort Collins (population 170,000 and home to Colorado State University), but it is its own city, a pretty place laid out around man-made Lake Loveland. The majestic Rocky Mountains loom to the west.
For years, Loveland was a sleepy farming hamlet. Over the last couple of decades, though, it has grown 65%, thanks primarily to the influx of high tech firms and manufacturing companies. A beautiful setting, safe neighborhoods, blue skies and an outdoor-oriented lifestyle are top selling points.
The cost of living is 19% above the national average. The median home price is $515,000, reflecting a 20% increase since a year ago, and residences come in all shapes and sizes. Thirty five percent of residents are age 45 or better, and politics lean to the right. Thirty-four percent of residents have at least a four year college degree.
Thanks in part to its 5,000 acres of protected open space, the city retains much of its original small town quality. Residents benefit from an active parks and recreation department that manages a large farmers' market, 32 public parks, three golf courses and 16 miles of dog-friendly bicycle and pedestrian paths.
Lake Loveland has a swimming beach. Boyd Lake State Park on the eastern edge of the city allows boating. It also has picnic areas, hiking trails and a summer concert series. The charming downtown is full of fun shops, pubs and eateries.
During late summer and early fall, elk, mountain lions and black bears are often spotted just outside of town (and occasionally in town). Ten minutes to the west of Loveland, hiking and biking trails beckon. An hour to the north, extraordinary Rocky Mountain National Park has camping areas, herds of bugling elk, cross country skiing and some of Colorado's the most jaw dropping mountain scenery.
An up and coming artist community showcases its work at the annual summer Art in the Park event. The Rialto Theater is the venue for local live performances, including ballet and musical presentations. The Loveland Public Library houses a technology center with free wi-fi and a variety of classes.
COLT provides local bus transportation. The regular fare is $1.25 per ride, but people age 60 and better ride for 60 cents. Monthly passes are available. RTD, the Regional Transportation District, provides bus transportation north to Fort Collins and south to Denver. Denver International Airport is an hour away.
Loveland has two very good hospitals. McKee Hospital is a designated Level III Trauma Center and accredited by the Joint Commission. It is award-winning and accepts both Medicare patients. The Medical Center of the Rockies is a Level II Trauma Center. It, too, is award-winning and accredited by the Joint Commission. Medicare patients are accepted.
The state of the art Chilson Senior Center shares the 67,000 square foot recreation facility located in the city's Civic Center, which has a swimming pool, a steam room, two gyms and racquetball courts. In the seniors-only area, the more mature demographic enjoys billiards and other activities. A full program of senior events is offered, including potlucks, afternoon teas, exercise classes, nutrition classes, blood pressure checks, foot care clinics, adult wellness clinics, therapeutic massages, spa treatments, pedicures, manicures, Medicare assistance and day trips.
While this appealing city is not actually in the mountains, its elevation is 5,013 feet above sea level. Winters are often chilly, with temperatures ranging from the teens to the 40s. Summer temperatures are usually in the 80s and 90s. On average, area receives 30 inches of snow and 15 inches of rain per year. Humidity is practically non-existent. Bright blue skies are standard.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Colorado Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
A low crime rate, low humidity, abundant outdoor recreation, strong senior services, very good medical facilities and a generally high quality of life make Loveland a great place to retire.
Similar to California, the Colorado area was surrendered to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. It did not become a state until 1876, 100 years after the nation's birth.
The Centennial State's geography includes high plains, deserts, foothills, and mountains. Its Rockies are part of the 3,000-plus mile geologic uplift known as the North American Cordillera. More than 50 of the Cordillera's peaks taller than 14,000 feet are in Colorado. Outdoor recreation ranges from backpacking and climbing to road cycling and skiing.
With roots in mining and agriculture, Colorado's economy has branched in many directions. It currently has a high concentration of tech and scientific research companies. Food processing, manufacturing, and tourism round out the state's industries.
The Centennial State maintains a long list of superlatives. It has the highest paved road, the deepest geothermal hot spring, and the nation's largest concentration of scenic byways. Colorado is the only state in the Union to reject the Olympics and one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana.
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