Go Topeka considers paying people to live and work in Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Go Topeka is considering a program to pay people to live and work in the capital city.

Organizers tell KSNT News this program is in the early planning stages right now. The idea behind it is simple: they want to attract talented people to live and work in Topeka and they’re looking at offering money, gift cards to local attractions and discounts as a way to do that.

“Getting the word out to a much broader audience across the nation about how great it is to live here,” Molly Howey with GoTopeka, said. “Really building some collateral and marketing materials around that so that when businesses are looking to recruit new talent, they can capture talent to be part of the community.”

The idea consists of a partnership between Go Topeka and local businesses that would together offer families up to $15,000 to move to and work in Topeka, along with gift cards to local restaurants and attractions, and discount memberships to things like gyms.

Since the idea hasn’t been approved it’s not certain where the money to support the program would come from, but Howey said right now they’re not focusing on that.

“If it were to get to a monetary situation, that’s really just a hook. It’s a carrot to get awareness built across the nation,” Howey said.

For someone like Lance Duft, who lives in Larned, this program sounds like something he would consider applying to.

“It’s a nice area. We come up here a lot. My daughter is stationed in Fort Riley so we come to Topeka a lot,” Duft said. “If there was an incentive, an opportunity, [if] a job existed of course.”

Howey said the program isn’t just about attracting families from nearby areas, it’s about competing with cities around the country.

“The American dream really is still alive and well in Topeka and Shawnee County,” Howey said. “If you’re on the coast it’s a really great message to share, especially with young talent if they’re looking to have families and establish themselves. The dollar goes a lot further here, so we want to share that.”

Howey said cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma already have incentive programs like that and this would make it so that Topeka can better compete.

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