Retirement Info Putnam County TN

Retirement Info

It is no wonder that Cookeville – Putnam County, Tennessee is one of America's Top 10 retirement places. With a quality of life that is hard to find elsewhere, Cookeville attracts newcomers each day. Low cost of living and a wide variety of activities create the ideal environment, offering something for everyone.

Cookeville, incorporated in 1854, is located 79 miles east of Nashville, 101 miles west of Knoxville and 95 miles from Chattanooga at the intersection of I-40 and Highway 111 in the Upper Cumberland region of Middle Tennessee. Cookeville is the hub of the 14-county Upper Cumberland Region and serves as a regional center for retail, employment, healthcare, and recreational/cultural opportunities to more then 300,000 people.


Annual average temperature-Summer: 86 F
MonthlyAverage high:
January 46 F  July 88 F
Monthly Average low: January 25 F July 65 F


Cookeville - Putnam County continues to be rated one of America’s Most Affordable communities and has been rated as the Most Affordable community a number of times by the national conductor of the survey, the American Chamber of Commerce Researcher’s Association. Cookeville is one of the best retirement communities, according to The Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities, and has also been rated one of the best retirement communities by Rand McNally’s Places Rated Retirement Guide. A recent article by Where to Retire Magazine also named Cookeville as one of the top locations to retire.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce Researcher's Association (ACCRA), Cookeville remains one of the top 5 most economical cities in the nation (Fourth Quarter, 2005). The survey uses 100 as the national average.

All Items Grocery Housing Utilities Trans. Health Care Misc.
80.9 84.5 72.5 77.4 80.7 87.3 87.0

Highways – Cookeville-Putnam County is served by Interstate 40, North/South Route Highway 111, U.S. 70, and State routes 42, 135, and 136. Over 75% of the U.S. population can be reached within a one day’s drive.

Air – Putnam County is served by the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport, located seven miles south of the city with a 6,000-foot runway. All facilities for private flying including air taxi, charter service, air freight, fuel and maintenance are available through fixed-base operators.

The Nashville International Airport, a 60-minute drive from Cookeville, provides commercial air service to the area. Serving as the Southeast Hub for American Airlines, the Nashville International Airport is served by 10 airlines offering approximately 450 daily flights to over 100 cities.

Medical Facilities
Cookeville Regional Medical Center has become the premier healthcare provider for many residents of the region. Over 115 physicians covering 36 medical and surgical specialties staff Cookeville Regional medical Center, a 247-bed, city-owned, regional healthcare facility. The hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care for patients in the Upper Cumberland area. Cookeville Regional provides a number of specialty centers, including the Heart Center, the Cancer Center, the Women’s Center, the Imaging Center, the Sleep Center, the Rehabilitation Center, the Diabetes Center, the Neurosciences Center, and the Birthing Center.

In addition to these specialty centers, Cookeville Regional also offers a variety of other services: 24 hour emergency room services with private rooms for all patients; intensive care and cardiovascular intensive care units; specialized nursing units for patients with cardiovascular, neurological, and pulmonary health concerns; an ambulatory surgery center for same-day surgical and special procedures; a sports medicine program; and home health options through Highland Rim Home Health.

The Lifeline Program is offered as a personal emergency response system for the chronically ill, elderly, and disabled. Cookeville Regional Medical Center strives to provide high quality health care close to home by addressing the needs of the Upper Cumberland community.

Plateau Mental Health Center provides public mental health care for the 14-county Upper Cumberland area with psychiatric and psychological counseling for mental illness on both in- and out-patient basis. Putnam County’s public health department and a state regional health department also provide many medical and health care needs, including immunization, birth control clinics and environmental services. Several nursing homes and health care agencies serve the area. A regional kidney center is also located in Cookeville.

Community Health Services
The Cookeville/Putnam County Coalition for the Promotion of Community AED Access, led by Cookeville Fire Chief Gene Schmid and Putnam County EMS Director Randy Porter, received the Tennessee Medical Society Community Service Award for 2004 for its work in increasing survivability of sudden cardiac arrest in the Cookeville Community. Armed with 150 AEDs (automatic external defibrillators), the Coalition believes at least 20 lives have been saved since 1999. The AEDs are scattered about the county; they can be found in patrol cars, at Tennessee Tech University, in churches, businesses and public schools. In 1999, all city employees were trained in AED and CPR; and in 2001, all county employees were trained. The goal is to have 25% of the population (about 12,000 people) in Putnam County trained to use the AED.

Additionally, in April 2005 and 2007, Cookeville and Putnam County received the prestigious nationwide “Heart Safe Community Award” from the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Medtronics, a major manufacturer of AEDs. Cookeville-Putnam County is the only community in the U.S. to receive the award twice 

Quality of Life
Cookeville-Putnam County offers much more than just Southern charm and hospitality – it also offers a rich variety of cultural and entertainment options. Listed is just a sampling of places to visit.

Tennessee Tech University is at the cultural pinnacle of the Highlands of Tennessee. People in and around the region are attracted to the university’s art exhibits, crafts, concerts, plays, workshops, and more.

Bryan Symphony Orchestra – The Symphony, housed on campus at TTU in the Bryan Fine Arts Center, draws professional musicians from all over middle and eastern Tennessee.

Bryan Fine Arts Center – Home of the TTU Department of Music and Art and the Bryan Symphony.

Cookeville Arts Center – Different monthly exhibits by various regional artists in varied media. Annual membership shows and sponsor of high school art competition.

Cookeville Performing Arts Center - A professionally equipped, 458-seat performing arts center, the Drama Center staff produces the state, regional and nationally award winning Drama Center Backstage series, home of the Cookeville Children’s Theatre productions and a variety of special performances and events.

Cookeville Depot Museum – Built in 1909, the Cookeville Depot is now home to the Cookeville Depot Museum, and visitors can view railway artifacts, memorabilia and numerous photography of the railroad in Putnam County over the years. An authentic 1913 Baldwin steam locomotive and two cabooses are located at the Depot.

Cookeville History Museum – Covers history of Cookeville and Putnam County. Prehistory, early history, etc. Temporary exhibits.

Burgess Falls State Natural Area – Scenic – three-quarters of a mile trail leads to a magnificent overlook, a 130-foot waterfall located in a large gorge on the Falling Water River.

Cane Creek Lake and Park – 256 acre- lake and regional park with covered shelters, concession stands, boat rentals, playgrounds, and nature trails.

Dogwood Park – City Park with a gazebo, rose garden, picnic tables, and concert pavilion.

Other – Putnam County YMCA, 12 golf courses, five rivers and three major lakes, tennis, swimming, hiking and more within minutes of the city limits.


Tennessee Technological University

The college-town atmosphere in Cookeville is extremely attractive to retirees providing a wide range of amenities: cultural activities, athletic events, educational opportunities, and excellent medical facilities in a stimulating environment. Tennessee Technological University, founded in Cookeville in 1915, is a four-year state-supported, co-educational university with an enrollment of more than 9,700. Tennessee Tech is known as Tennessee's technological university, but houses seven strong academic divisions, the College of Agricultural and Human Sciences (which includes the School of Nursing), College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business Administration, College of Education, College of Engineering, School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education, and the Graduate School. TTU is frequently ranked among the "Top Public Universities in the South" by U.S.News and World Report in its America's Best Colleges Guides. Also, TTU was named one of fewer than 20 Tennessee Schools named on the "Best Southeastern College" list by the Princeton Review. The university is also one of "America's 100 Best College Buys" according to Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc.

Nashville State Community College – Cookeville Campus
Nashville State Community Colleges-Cookeville Campus’ mission is to provide comprehensive educational programs, progressive partnerships, exemplary services, and responsible leadership to improve the quality of life for the communities it serves. This institution is now established as a vital part of the community’s educational fabric after opening an $11.3 million facility in 2002, offering associate degrees in the Associates of Arts and the Associate Science that are designed specifically for students wishing to transfer and purse Bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities. The college’s solid reputation as a leader in high-quality, technical education continues and offers a variety of technical certificate training programs in Computer-Aided Drafting, Industrial Electrical Maintenance, Industrial Automation, Computer Basic Technical Communications and others. NSCC works with area employers to develop and provide specialized training to meet their staffing needs. Students may study on campus or via the web.

Places of Worship and Civic Clubs
Whatever your religious affiliation, Cookeville and Putnam County have a place for you. Many individual congregations sponsor mature member programs, including trips, suppers, and recreational events. Civic involvement is strong in Putnam County, and a variety of clubs and non-profit organizations welcome your participation and talents.

Homes can be found in a variety of sizes, with various amenities, and in all price ranges to meet anyone’s need. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median cost of a home in Putnam County is $92,600 with the median cost in the City of Cookeville being $102,600.

Aging Care Facilities in Putnam County

Long-term Care/Nursing Homes
Bethesda Healthcare
Masters Healthcare
NHC Healthcare
Standing Stone Nursing Home
Assisted Living
Cedar Hills Retirement Center
Morningside of Cookeville Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s Care
**A new assisted living center is currently under construction.

Personal Safety

Police Protection

The City of Cookeville has had a nationally accredited law enforcement agency since 1998. There are three substations that house 73 sworn officers. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has 49 deputies and 7 investigators. Cookeville is also the Regional Headquarters for a division of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The rates of violent crimes and motor vehicle theft are well below the national average and the property crime rate is slightly below the national average.

Fire Protection
The City of Cookeville has a municipal fire department with four substations. It has an ISO rating of Class 2, the best in the state. Putnam County has a large volunteer fire department and is the first program in the state to have a student firefighter program which allows college students to work and train as firefighters and receive tuition and credit.
The city has a Class 1 municipal water supply rating.

Emergency Services
Cookeville-Putnam County has an Emergency Management Agency (EMA), which has achieved the NOAA Weather Storm Ready Status, a status only achieved by larger municipalities like Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Chattanooga. Emergency alert pagers have been installed in all schools, nursing homes, retirement centers, public buildings, and news media.

Enhanced 911 offers GPS and triangulation of emergency phone calls from cell phones.

Emergency Medical Services has 12 ambulances with an active 1st responder program in cooperation with the police, fire, and off-duty EMS personnel. An aggressive AED program is in place throughout the community resulting in a 60% success rate. High school seniors and sophomores are trained in CPR.


Property Tax: (rate per $100 assessed      City      County
value for real and personal property)         $0.88   $2.6025

Real estate and commercial personal property are assessed at the following rates:
Commercial real estate 40%
Residential real estate 25%
Commercial personal property 30%

Sales Tax Rate: 9.75%
Motor Vehicle Purchases: over $1,600: 7%, $44 local, $44 single article
Under $1,600: 9.75%

The State of Tennessee assesses no State Income Tax.