TOPEKA, Kan. (WTHR) — Topeka, Kansas, is trying to get people to move there and is offering workers up to $15,000 to make it happen.
The Greater Topeka Partnership announced the pilot program, "Choose Topeka," will offer matching incentives between participating employers and the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) to get workers to move to Topeka or Shawnee County.
You don't get the money just for moving there. The partnership says the incentives are performance based. After the employee has lived in the community for a year, the money can be used for "all types of moving-related expenses."
For renters, the incentive is $10,000 — a contribution of $5,000 from the employer and $5,000 from JEDO -- to be used for a primary residence.
To buy or renovate a home, the amount goes up to $15,000, which is $7,500 from each partner.
Greater Topeka Partnership says moving expenses for a 1-2 bedroom apartment can be up to $7,000 and a 3-4 bedroom home can be up to $16,000.
The partnership says it expects to have enough incentive funds for 40 to 60 new workers to move to Topeka. It says for an average worker making $60,000 per year, the average estimated economic benefit to the community will be $50,000 for every $5,000 in incentives given — $11.38 million over five years.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Topeka as of July 1, 2018, is 125,904 — down almost 2,000 from 2010. The median value of a home is $100,400, median gross rent is $751 and median household income is $46,087.
Although Topeka is the largest city in Shawnee County, owning or renting outside the city can cost more. According to the Census, the median value of a home county-wide is $127,600 and rent is $762.
Topeka is about 55 miles west of Kansas City.
More information can be found by contacting Bob Ross at (785) 234-2644 or Bob.Ross@TopekaPartnership.com.