GREENSBURG, Ind. (WXIN) — If nothing else, the pandemic has proven people in many professions can easily work from home — as long as they’ve got a strong internet connection.
It’s led to an exodus of sorts as professionals ponder moving away from the city now that they can keep their jobs and work remotely from virtually anywhere.
Officials in Greensburg, Indiana, otherwise known as “Tree City,” are working to attract virtual employees with a few incentives.
“Our community is full of great people that will help an individual who moves here, or their family, flourish and grow and be a part of the community,” Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh said. “How do we attract people to southeastern Indiana? What we’re doing is we’re showing those that maybe live in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco – outside of the Midwest – that you can keep your job that you have, where you’re working remotely. You’re paying a very high cost of living, maybe in an unsafe environment, or the school systems aren’t great … (but) you can move here to Greensburg, Indiana and we will set you up.”
Greensburg is home to about 12,000 residents – though they’re hoping to attract more. The city’s incentives include:
- $5,000 in moving expenses.
- Invitations to Greensburg’s non-profit fundraising events, including its annual Gala in support of Decatur County Memorial Hospital.
- Open invitations to home-cooked meals at neighbors’ homes.
- One-year membership to Greensburg’s local co-working space.
- One-year membership to the YMCA.
- Free gift cards to the farmers market.
- Free passes for theatrical performances at the Tree County Players.
- Access to a special program, they call, “Grandparents on Demand.”
The mayor said the city put the incentive package together with the help of an Indiana-based company, MakeMyMove, which is a virtual marketplace that matches remote workers and their families to communities across the country.
MakeMyMove said you “can’t put a price tag” on having a stand-in grandparent for anyone moving with kids. Executive Director for the Decatur County Community Foundation Tami Wenning and her husband “happily offer babysitting hours and will stand in on Grandparents Day at school.”
“I am willing to be a grandma to anyone’s child who needs that person in their life,” said Wenning. “Our community is just really warm and welcoming to people and I just want people to come here and feel good about the choice that they made and not knowing the area. Not knowing who you could trust and there are a lot of trustworthy people but when you first move to a new town, you’re not gonna know that … but you can trust me.”
Wenning is not the city spokesperson, but maybe she should be. She said Greensburg’s greatest attraction is the people who call it home.
“We have so much to offer. We are a warm and friendly place,” Wenning said. “It’s a warm fuzzy feeling when you find out what your community’s capable of and this community is so giving it’s amazing.”
If you have reservations about the strength of the internet connection in southeastern Indiana, there’s no need. The city has been working on its service in preparation for this program.
“The city of Greensburg is set up well to service those residences that need that capability to work remotely. We’re very glad to have a partnership with Great Plains Communication who serve fiber through a lot of our city,” Marsh said. “From the technology component, we’re ready to meet that demand to welcome these residents who need to work remotely and can do that from here.”
There is no cap to the number of people Greensburg is welcoming. Marsh hopes the program is so successful that a cap would need to be considered down the road.