TOPEKA (KSNT) – City and county leaders are working together to ensure those who currently live outside Topeka see it as a place they might want to call home.
The “Choose Topeka,” program offers financial incentives to people who relocate to Topeka. Since 2019, it’s helped bring almost 100 individuals and families to the Capital City. On Wednesday, the Topeka and Shawnee County Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) approved “Choose Topeka 2.0.”
Members of JEDO approved almost $400,000 from the CarryFoward fund to fund the incentive. The program will now open its applicant pool to former Topeka residents want to return and exiting military personnel.
Councilwoman Hannah Naeger says it’s important to invest in those who choose to come back to Topeka.
“Speaking as one of those people, we’re the most invested in seeing the community grow,” Naeger said. “It’s so exciting to see home-grown Topekans come back and see that things are growing, the things that they love are still here, and that there are new opportunities growing around them.”
To qualify for the program, participants must move to Topeka for full-time work, buy a home in Shawnee County and get a job with a primary employer at a minimum salary of $50,000. Go Topeka also provides recipients with information to help them get to know the community.
“[JEDO is] making sure that we’re really finding ways to root our new citizens as strongly as possible and to present that welcoming front,” Naeger said.
With Fort Riley just an hour away from Topeka, Shawnee County Commissioner Aaron Mays this new incentive could encourage those leaving the military to consider moving to Topeka.
“There’s a number of people at Fort Filey who will retire from military service,” Mays said. “This is an incentive for them to do that, to stay close to where they are already and hopefully it incentivizes them to make that move east.”