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Despite property tax concerns, El Paso seen as good destination for retirees

The City of El Paso is gaining recognition as a retirement destination.

According to US News and World Report, El Paso ranks #5 out of the 100 best places to retire in the nation. USA Today also ranks El Paso #5 in a special article that picks the “5 places where you may want to retire”.

ABC-7 asked, what is the city doing to keep up with the national attention? Plus, do couples choose to retire here, even if they don’t have any connection to the borderland?

ABC-7 found a couple who did. Ed and Anita Murray met in high school and got married after graduation. They’re now in their 80’s and spend most days reading and going for walks. They’re enjoying their retirement, and have a good sense of humor.

“I don’t want to sound like we’re complaining, but our circle of friends has changed over the years,” Ed said. “They all have the same first name, doctor.”

The couple traveled all their lives and have the memorabilia to prove it.

“We joined the service in 1954,” Ed said. “Even after I got out I started taking aircraft contract jobs and we moved around because of that. We went to Iran, Saudia and Jordan.”

The couple eventually settled down with their family in San Antonio, but after being there for about 20 years, they were looking for a change in weather.

“I got to where I couldn’t handle the humidity any more,” Ed said.

The couple eventually settled down in El Paso, without knowing anyone here.

“We really liked the weather,” Ed said. “We liked the city.”

Director of the city’s economic and international development Jessica Herrera said people like to come to El Paso for the low cost of rent, access to healthcare and of course, the weather.

“Over the past few years there’s been a significant amount of investment in just our overall cost of living,” Herrera said. “Affordability goes a long way when retirees are looking to move into a city like El Paso.”

While the Murray’s chose to settle down here, despite not having any connection to the borderland, Henry Van, of VRealty, said there aren’t many couples like them.

“I think it’s a matter of promoting the city more, it’s not really known at a national level,” Van said.

But Herrera said the city is working to promote the city.

“We have some of our counterparts like Destination El Paso,” Herrera said. “They currently market the city within a 300-500 mile radius that expose what assets we have as a region.”

Herrera said a lot of medical services have recently opened in El Paso, and that is attractive to retirees.

“Not to mention the veterans hospital that’s being built on the base,” Herrera said. “All of that within the next few years will open opportunities to quality health care coverage.”

But there are some challenges.

“The issue of security always comes up because of our presence on the border,” Herrera said. “I always see our presence on the border as an opportunity. But it’s really trying to reinforce that message to let people know we’re one of the safest cities in the country.”

“In some areas I’ve seen even the property taxes being a third in the New Mexico side then here in the El Paso and on the Texas side,” Van said.

For Ed and Anita, El Paso was the perfect fit.

“We’ve had a chance to see a lot of places and got an idea of where we didn’t want to live,” Ed said. “They were nice places but not for us. So it made it easier to settle on El Paso.”

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