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'Love grows here': Greensburg offering an incentive to get new neighbors to move there

'If you can do your job at a desk, you can do your job at a desk anywhere'
Posted at 7:33 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2022-05-04 18:40:11-04

GREENSBURG — Greensburg, Indiana has a population of just under 12,000 people, but city leaders are hoping it will soon grow.

A recent report by tech platform Growmotely details 74% of professionals “think remote work will become the new normal.”

Greensburg is one of the dozens of cities across the U.S. looking to capitalize on that.

“This hometown atmosphere is contagious,” Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh said.

The “Tree City” is most famous for a tree growing out of the roof of its courthouse, and it is willing to pay for new neighbors to plant roots.

“[We are looking for] somebody interested in investing and spending time here, being a part of our non-profits and other agencies, and enjoying our community,” Marsh said.

The offer: $7,000 in cash and gifts for remote workers age 18 and older to call Greensburg home.

“We’re focused on individuals who work remotely, high wages income earners that live outside of Indiana,” Marsh said.

If accepted, the new neighbors will receive up to $5,000 in reimbursement for moving costs, a year-long membership to the YMCA, a literal seat at the table during community events, and “Grammy Tami.”

“We still aren’t done being parents and loving on kids,” Tami Wenning said. Both her and her husband, Dan, a school bus driver, are serving as “Grandparents on Demand.” Tami is also the Executive director at the Decatur County Community Foundation.

The couple will be available to babysit and come to the school’s Grandparents Day.

“Some people say I would never trust my child with someone I don’t know, but a community our size, everybody knows everybody and if you’ve ever done something bad, somebody will tell on ya,” Wenning said.

The mom said growing up, she moved all around the county and knows just how scary it can be to start over in a new place.

“I want people to feel comfortable coming here and instantly feel like they have some family. Somebody to at least call,” Wenning said.

Marsh said the ‘why’ behind this incentive will help diversify the workforce and raise the average income level. It is also an effort to grow the population, increase the tax base and attract new businesses to town.

“I think it’s incredibly important for rural Indiana communities to embrace those that aren’t from here and I think that’s an important component for our long-term success,” Marsh said.

The Decatur County Seat is not alone in looking to capitalize on the growing remote workforce.

Bloomington, French Lick, and West Lafayette are three of more than half a dozen Indiana towns also offering cash and gift incentives to bring new neighbors into town

MakeMyMoveoperates out of an old Chase Bank building on 38th Street in Indianapolis.

The online marketplace showcases incentive packages, like the one for Greensburg, to connect remote workers to communities across the U.S.

“We started with about 23 cities on the site, we’re up to fifty now,” MakeMyMove co-founder, Evan Hock said.

Hock noted MakeMyMove continues to rapidly expand after starting last December.

“I think what we’re finding is Indiana is a leader in the country. There are about a dozen cities across the state that are offering these and more to come,” Hock said. He continued, “I think we’re putting our money where our mouth is to try to attract some of those residents.”

Each listing on the site includes internet speed rating, closest airports, and median home value.

“Our company historically was tasked with recurring people to the state of Indiana. What we realized during the pandemic is that the tools and methodology we built with TMap, were broadly useful to communities across the country. The pandemic that freed tens of millions of people across the country to choose their home provided a unique opportunity,” Hock said.

Less than two weeks ago, the Greensburg listing was posted. The Tree City is looking to start with sponsoring five individuals. So far, Mayor Marsh said more than 800 applications were submitted.

There is no deadline to apply for Greensburg. Those interested can apply online here.

Watch the video in the player above to learn more about what Greensburg, Indiana is doing to get people to move there.