Many senior citizens living in Pittsboro already know it is a great place to retire, but now it’s official!

The N.C. Department of Commerce on Friday awarded Pittsboro designation as a “North Carolina Certified Retirement Destination,” culminating a months-long effort that involved seeking private donations to cover a substantial application fee and successfully demonstrating that the community has the amenities necessary to enhance seniors’ quality of life.

The town was evaluated on criteria important to retirees, including affordable cost of living, low taxes, low crime rate, access to quality medical care, and opportunities for education, culture and recreation.

Pittsboro is the fifth community in the state to win the designation since the program was started by the General Assembly in 2008.  The others are Asheboro, Lumberton, Marion and Sanford/Lee County.

In winning the award, Pittsboro will receive marketing support from the state in a variety of ways to attract retirees to the community.

Pat Richardson, director of community relations a Galloway Ridge and a member of the steering committee that worked to earn the designation, was delighted as she broke the news Friday that Pittsboro had won the award.

“This award is a huge accomplishment for the community, branding Pittsboro as a ‘preferred destination’ for retirees to consider, and meeting the state’s criteria, receiving endorsement and marketing support,” she wrote in a email.  “This certification says to interested seniors that Pittsboro offers a quality of life with all the amenities needed for retirement.”

Plans are underway for a ceremony in late April to mark the accomplishment, which will be held at the Chatham County Council on Aging.

Richardson thanked her fellow committee members for their hard work and dedication over the past six months on the project.

“Your belief in Pittsboro is what made this application process hugely successful,” she said.  “I am honored to be a part of a community that believes in itself whole heartedly and rises to the challenge for continued success.”

The committee received contributions from Galloway Ridge, Fitch Creations Inc. DBA Fearrington Village, Sara Donaldson-State Farm, Newland Communities, Duke Energy, Carolina Meadows, UNC Chatham Hospital, UNC Hospital Systems, Twin Rivers, CCCC and Barber and Barber, Attorneys.

Now that Pittsboro has been awarded certification, the N.C. Division of Tourism will handle much of the marketing.