Staff Report

VENICE — Southwest Florida cities from St. Petersburg to Naples were recently lauded as “great places to retire” in a recent listing.

Among the area locations were Sarasota, Venice and Punta Gorda.

With a majority of its population being 65 or older, Punta Gorda “knows how to appeal to retired folks,” according to Kiplinger Personal Finance.

Kiplinger, a Washington, D.C.- based publisher of business forecasts and financial advice, issued a listing recently of ‘7 great places to retire in Florida’.

With a median condo/townhome price of about $172,500, and a population estimated at 18,656, about 55.3% is in the 65-plus range, according to Kiplinger.

“Life here revolves around 55 miles of canal-front homes as well as numerous retirement communities, restricted to people age 55 and older,” states the report. “Plenty of golfing, plus a Fishermen’s Village waterfront complex with 30 shops and restaurants. Also in town, the Harborwalk along Charlotte Harbor is just a portion of the 18 miles of bike trails and pedestrian pathways you can enjoy.”

The cities that made the list for Florida include:

• Sarasota

• Gainesville

• Naples

• St. Petersburg

• Punta Gorda

• St. Augustine

• Venice

Venice made the list because of “wide, palm-tree-lined sidewalks (that) give way to white-sand beaches and expansive water views.”

“Locals can stroll the historic district and stop in the numerous shops and restaurants,” the article states. “On Saturday mornings, there’s a farmers market. You can catch a show at the Venice Theatre or a performance by the Venice Symphony at the Performing Arts Center.”

It also notes the Intracoastal Waterway, the Legacy Trail and the city’s more than 30 parks, though it incorrectly locates the Myakka River State Park within the city.

And it points out that because of the city’s popularity with seasonal residents, a rental could cost $3,000-$5,000 a month, with reservations made a year in advance.

The report notes draws to Florida including warm weather; no state income tax and a generous homestead exemption.

The lack of an income tax and any state inheritance or estate tax also landed Florida at No. 5 on Kiplinger’s list of most tax-friendly states for retirees.

The seven “great places to retire” were chosen based on locale, amenities, affordability and “access to top-notch health care,” according to the report.

Population over 65 is slightly higher in Venice, at 61.1%, compared to Punta Gorda’s 55.3%. Naples has about 51.5% of its population in that age range.


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