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Topeka, Kansas Wants People To Move There So Badly They're Offering $15K

Many cities around the nation are fighting dwindling populations with a traditionally popular weapon: cold, hard cash.

Baltimore, Chattanooga, and Tulsa all offer financial incentives to people willing to relocate there, according to Fox Business, and the latest to join them is Kansas's state capital, Topeka. It's offering one of the heftiest incentives out there.

Despite being the seat of Kansas's government, Topeka has been leaking people.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Topeka has lost almost 2,000 people since 2010. So, to attract new workers, the city has launched the "Choose Topeka" program, which offers workers up to $15,000 in incentives to relocate there.

Topeka's incentive isn't quite spend-ready cash immediately deposited into your account just for moving there, however.

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Choose Topeka brings together employers and the city's Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO). You have to live and work in Topeka for a full year to qualify.

At that point, if you're a renter, you're entitled to up to $10,000 — $5,000 from your employer, matched by the JEDO — and if you buy or renovate a house, you could received up to $15,000 — $7,500 from your employer, matched by the JEDO.

It's worth considering the cost of living in Topeka when you start doing the math on whether relocating is a good idea.

The median gross rent in Topeka is about $800, and the median home value there is $113,700, so those dollars have some legs.

And the city isn't without some attractions, such as the Evel Knievel Museum, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, and many breweries.

The idea is to get people invested in the community.

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"Choose Topeka was created with the intention of investing in employees to live and work in Topeka and Shawnee County, so that we may foster an 'intentional community,' one of community support builders," said GO Topeka's Barbara Stapleton.

"With the Choose Topeka initiative, we hope to not only support our local recruiters and HR professionals in their attraction and retention efforts, but we also intend to showcase just how much Topeka and Shawnee County supports its local talent," GO Topeka's Molly Howey added.

Choose Topeka is funded for about 40-60 workers to move there in 2020.

Greater Topeka Partnership

Other incentive plans have actually worked out fairly well in the past. For example, in 2005 Marquette put up 70 plots of land for free to anyone who could afford to develop them, and now only about 30 remain.

h/t: Fox News, New York Post, WTHR