Sarasota County trying to retain millennials

- Sarasota County is known for the arts, the circus and beautiful beaches.

Students at New College of Florida like Pariesa Young haven't noticed much else.

"Sarasota hasn't really changed that much since I grew up here," she said.

The “Millennial” group is made up of people between the ages of 18 and 34. They seem to have a certain perception of the area.

"I think of older rich people usually," said Young.

Sarasota County's median population age is 53.

Wendy Getchell the owner of Lotus Boutique would like to see that number drop.

"It really makes for a more interesting and well-rounded community. It's more vibrant," she told FOX 13.

Downtown Sarasota is full of restaurants, bars and boutiques like Lotus that attract a lively younger crowd.

"If we could attract more of that age group it would be really healthy for the community," Getchell stated.

She told FOX 13 there is a reason why Millennials are leaving.

"Business opportunities have been lacking. People graduate from college and I don't think they leave because they want to leave, but as far as utilizing their degrees and growing in the business areas the opportunity isn't really right there," she said.

Sarasota County is trying to figure out how to keep Millennials in the area.

They are asking questions like if housing too expensive?

Or if there is a lack of things to do or jobs that interest younger people.

"Is it multi-faceted?  Is it as simple as there is nothing to do or is it something more complex as the wages are too low and I can't live here?  What is the dynamic on the ground?" asked Elma Felix with the county's long range planning division.

Sarasota County is working to answer those questions to keep their community growing.

"We can be something else. We can be a retirement community but attract Millennials at the same time," said Felix.

For more information on the conversation Sarasota County is having with Millennials visit www.scgov.net.

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