Topeka, Kansas, is offering up to $15,000 to those willing to move to the middle American city, reports The New York Times. City officials and business leaders are behind the push and have pooled their resources to offer a cash bonus for those willing to live and work in Topeka or its home county of Shawnee.
The initiative comes as the county’s population has remained stagnant over the past decade, likely because young people are drawn to larger metropolises like New York or San Francisco.
David Callanan, a founder of Advisors Excel and AE Wealth Management, an insurance brokerage consulting firm that is part of the program, said the program is necessary for Topeka in order to remain competitive with larger cities.
“I think it’s a way for the littler guy to level the playing field and compete in a different way,” Callanan said.
Though organizers admit that $15,000 may not necessarily be a large sum, they are hoping that the publicity will bring some interest to the city and county. Those behind the program are hoping that they will be able to lure at least 40 people to the area. The wish is that newcomers would work in jobs such as “animal health science” or “financial services” and would consist of young couples who either have families or who might be starting them soon.
Though 40 people might not sound like a lot, the city says that with a population so small — currently at 178,000 — even a few dozen people make a difference.
The announcement has already earned interest, and officials have claimed that they have received phone calls and emails from people located in places from New York to Canada and as far off as the Philippines.
We get by with help from our friends!
— Topeka Police (@Topeka_Police) December 13, 2019
Those behind the initiative are particularly hopeful that the program will be attractive for those living in large cities — like New York — who are tired of high rent prices and cost of living. In Topeka, an average two-bedroom apartment is just $750 per month to rent. In contrast, a two-bedroom apartment in New York clocks in at a whopping $3,746 (via Rent Jungle).
“[Topeka] offers a good life and excellent cost of living: all those things that people are starting to seek out if they want more intentional community,” claimed Barbara Stapleton, vice president of business retention and talent initiatives for the Greater Topeka Partnership.
“People are feeling an anonymity within the larger cities and that can be oppressive,” she added.
Topeka is far from the first place to offer financial incentives to potential transplants. For example, the Molise region in Italy has offered to pay $765 per month to those willing to live and work in their small towns, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.