ST. PAUL — Minnesota soon will have more residents over 65 than under 18, and Gov. Tim Walz wants to make the state a more welcoming place for older people to live.

The Democratic governor on Wednesday, Dec. 11, announced the creation of a Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota — a move Walz said fulfilled a campaign promise.

“Everyone wants to live in a community that is respectful, inclusive and supportive of our contributions and needs,” Walz said in a statement announcing the council. “This executive order coordinates efforts across agencies and sectors to move us all toward an age-friendly Minnesota.”

The announcement came during the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging Summit at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Walz hopes Minnesota will earn an “age-friendly” designation from the AARP.

Hennepin County, Minneapolis and three other Minnesota cities already have made an age-friendly commitment through AARP. In a 2016 action plan, Minneapolis leaders pledged to become a “premier location for older residents” with “comprehensive housing options, easy access to all places and amenities, healthy and safe environments and opportunities for engagement, leisure, entertainment and lifelong learning.”

Local AARP leaders said the council’s creation will be a good step toward addressing challenges Minnesota faces in helping seniors navigate their communities.

“By committing to becoming more age friendly, Minnesota can solve for those challenges while simultaneously creating a state where older adults can thrive,” said Will Phillips, AARP Minnesota director.

Phillips said amenities that seniors enjoy, whether in housing, health care or activities, often make life better for people of every age.

The council will have as many as 15 members, including representatives from state agencies like the Board on Aging, Metropolitan Council and the Human Services and Veterans Affairs departments.

Walz wants up to six members who represent older residents, caregivers, business leaders and experts on aging.

The council’s initial recommendations are due to the governor by Aug. 15. A final action plan for improving the state’s age-friendliness is expected by the end of 2021.