Vermont, Oklahoma and Now Topeka, Kan., Want You

Vermont, Oklahoma and Now Topeka, Kan., Want You

“You add 50 or 75 families, that has real impact,” he said. “Fifty to 75 families in New York, Jiminy Christmas, that’s not going to fill one building.”

On Friday, GO Topeka, the group behind the program, said it had been flooded with calls and emails from people from New York, Canada and the Philippines interested in the offer.

Similar programs have seen some success.

Vermont made headlines in 2018 when state officials announced they would offer $10,000 to anyone who moved to the state and work remotely. It was an aggressive attempt to counter the state’s aging population that officials said had paid off.

Since the program started in January 2019, more than 120 workers, along with their spouses and children — totaling more than 300 people — have moved to Vermont as part of it, said Joan Goldstein, the state’s commissioner of economic development. Their average age is 37, Ms. Goldstein said. Next year, grants of up to $7,500 will be offered to people who move to the state and work for Vermont employers, she said.

Barbara Stapleton, vice president of business retention and talent initiatives for the Greater Topeka Partnership, said she hoped the campaign would attract the same kind of people Vermont lured: young workers tired of crowded, expensive cities where personal connections are hard to make.

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Topeka is around $750, and the average price of a home hovers around $140,000. Topeka, Ms. Stapleton said, has good schools and lots of parks, and is in the middle of a renaissance, with a downtown that has attracted a brewery and new restaurants.

“It 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,” she said. “People are feeling an anonymity within the larger cities and that can be oppressive.”

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