Retired or retiring? Check out Kannapolis!

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 4, 2024

KANNAPOLIS — Kannapolis was recently named one of the best cities in North Carolina to retire to by “World Atlas” and one of the top seven cities in the United States for retirement affordability by the website “The Travel.”

The publications emphasized Kannapolis’ affordability, weather, proximity to Charlotte and amenities for being so high on their lists. One of the people who knows about these resources better than most is Eric Dearmon, a retiree currently living in Kannapolis. 

Dearmon, 63, was a private wealth advisor for a large bank before he retired in December 2022. Since then, he has been involved in the revitalization of the downtown area by becoming an official downtown Kannapolis ambassador. As ambassador, Dearmon’s responsibilities are to meet with visitors and lead tours of the downtown. 

Dearmon said he’s from the Baby Boomer generation, or anyone born from 1946 to 1964. One of the main reasons he believes Kannapolis is the ideal locale for people to retire to is the revitalized downtown that has grown exponentially after the city purchased it back in 2015. 

“Downtown is the most beautiful, walkable downtown you’ll find in North Carolina,” Dearmon said. “I hope I live long enough to see our downtown and our Kannapolis city build itself out the way that I think it’s going to.”

Dearmon praises the parks he takes his grandchildren to, free concerts, and especially Atrium Health Ballpark, home of the Cannon Ballers, as positive factors for Kannapolis’ reputation with retirees. 

“It’s more of a social event. Us Boomers, we like to be out, we like to co-mingle with other people, we like to talk with other retirees,” Dearmon said.

Kannapolis also has a plethora of restaurants and shops that caters to individuals with a wide-ranging palette and who appreciates not having to travel too far for a nice meal. 

“Within a 30-minute drive, we can get any type of food that we enjoy without any trouble,” Dearmon said.

Vida, one of the newest apartment complexes in downtown Kannapolis, actually has occupants of all ages living there, as Dearmon found out. 

“I’ve met people in there and thought they were going to be young people and a lot of them are young people just getting started with their dogs, some of them young families. You would be amazed how many people my age are actually there,” Dearmon said.

Though Dearmon said Kannapolis is affordable compared to bigger cities like Charlotte, he acknowledges how inflation and the national housing market has put a dent in that disparity. 

“We still have affordable housing, but with some of the lower-income areas, we need more help, more guidance. The city is, thankfully, taking this on seriously now and they know we need to work on some affordable housing issues,” Dearmon said. 

Once the downtown is completely developed, Dearmon wants to see more attention put into the underserved areas and neighborhoods all around Kannapolis. 

“They are just as important as anybody else in our community and we need to put an emphasis on that to help those people as much as we can,” Dearmon said.

Kannapolis has changed so much over the years because the local government has invested so much time, money, and energy into the downtown and additional luxuries for residents to take advantage of. In less than a decade, Kannapolis has established itself as a premier destination for retirees looking for the perfect place off the beaten path. 

“We’re building the community so that it is a true community where people can get outside, communicate with each other, be around each other, and have lots of special events,” Dearmon said. “We’re very engaged and involved in entertaining and helping the community in every way that we can.”