The features and amenities that make Tyler an excellent place for retirees also make this East Texas town a great home for people of all ages.
About 10 years ago, the East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) qualified Tyler as the first “Certified Retirement City” in Texas, meaning the community meets high standards for retiree living. The ETCOG looked at features such as educational opportunities, proximity to entertainment, shopping and cultural opportunities, and at both Tyler’s quantity and quality of health-care options.
“What it comes down to is a great quality of life for everyone,” says Henry Bell, COO of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.
Bell says Tyler’s population is 108,000, up from 96,900 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Bureau also reports that 30% of Tyler’s population is age 50 and above, and 58% is under the age of 40.
“It’s no surprise that Tyler continues to grow as people continue to find that it’s a good place to live and work,” Bell says.
Plentiful, Quality Health Care
Tyler’s health-care industry employs a third of the city’s workforce, and its many facilities offer convenient access to the entire region. Many have won awards and accolades, including the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, East Texas Medical Center, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System and Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital. Numerous clinics and medical offices are nearby, including the Texas Spine and Joint Hospital, a new, $27 million state-of-the-art facility.
Coy Weems, the hearing instrument specialist at Eyecare Associates of East Texas, says many people who move here are surprised at both the quality and quantity of local health-care options.
“It's amazing how much access we have to a wide array of medical services in the area,” Weems says. “The competition we have in many of the fields of health services in this area has produced some of the finest doctors, facilities and specialists that could and do compete with some of the larger cities in Texas and across the nation.”
Education for All
Tyler also nurtures learning for people of all ages. The University of Texas at Tyler offers more than 80 programs for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Tyler Junior College (TJC) has more than 120 degree and certificate programs. Texas College has 12 bachelor’s degree programs.
TJC operates a Regional Training and Development Complex that offers adult basic education and a Seniors’ College that teaches non-credit courses for residents age 55 and above. For the youngest residents, Tyler Independent School District maintains 36 facilities that serve more than 17,000 students.
Something New to Do Each Day
Recreational opportunities abound in the Rose Capital.
The Tyler Senior Center is a happening place with numerous activities and programs for people age 55 and up, including a “TEXERCISE” exercise class.
“Our rocking Senior Center has a lot to offer the 55 and better seniors,’” says Kay Odom, center supervisor.
Residents of all ages enjoy the vast amenities in the city’s 27 parks. Nearly 30 lakes surround the city and offer fishing and water recreation, and Tyler State Park encompasses 985 acres of forest.
There are about 20 golf courses within a one-hour drive of downtown, leading Golf Digest magazine to name Tyler the No. 1 golf city in Texas. The Tyler Rose Garden, with 38,000 rose bushes, attracts thousands of visitors and locals; TJC has a renovated planetarium; and the popular Caldwell Zoo is home to about 2,000 animals.
“It’s one of the nicest zoos you’ll find anywhere,” Bell says.
Cultural opportunities here include the Tyler Museum of Art, and live entertainment at several venues such as the East Texas Symphony Orchestra and the Cowan Center, on the UT-Tyler campus.
Shoppers and diners can find everything they need at downtown Tyler’s small boutiques and eateries, and at the new Village at Cumberland Park.
“Shopping opportunities are just exploding in Tyler,” Bell says.
It’s About the People
Along with all these features that foster a high quality of life, Bell says Tyler’s greatest asset is its residents.
“Here in Tyler, the people are the most important thing,” he says. “We have a friendly environment where people care about each other and their community.”