Indiana City Offers Replacement “Grandparents” For New Residents


GREENSBURG, Indiana (AP) – A rural town in southeast Indiana has attracted the interest of hundreds of families considering a…

GREENSBURG, Indiana (AP) – A rural town in southeast Indiana has attracted the interest of hundreds of families considering relocating there after offering replacement “grandparents” to babysit their children in the city. part of an incentive program to attract remote workers.

A local couple, Tami and Dan Wenning, have volunteered to serve as grandparents for the children of the first five families who agree to move to Greensburg as part of the program. If more new residents move, other grandparents in the community “are more than ready” to step in and help, said Tami Wenning.

Greensburg, 80.47 kilometers southeast of Indianapolis, will offer free child care for the next six to 12 months as part of a program it calls “Grandparents on Demand.” Children are also guaranteed to have a replacement grandmother and grandfather on grandparents’ day at school – a benefit for those away from their families.

Just two weeks after the initiative’s launch, more than 1,000 apps have been filed, said Evan Hock, co-founder of Indianapolis-based MakeMyMove, an online directory that connects remote workers to such offers in all the countries. Hock said the one-time incentive has been a “big contributor” to the influx of interest, and that considerations are being made to expand the Greensburg program, depending on housing availability.

Tami Wenning, 57, volunteered for the incentive program through her work as a director of the Decatur County Community Foundation and said that she and her husband “already love” serving great- parents to their own children. They have also offered their homes to more than a dozen foreign students in recent years.

“I have lived here all my life and I am delighted to share with the people who want what we have because what we have is special,” she said. “We’re the perfect place for someone to raise a family, and I can’t begin to imagine moving out and being in a place where you don’t have this network of people who, in a pinch, you have someone. one to count on at. “

The five spots in Greensburg are expected to be filled within the next 30 days, Hock said, and new residents will receive assistance moving to the city over the next two or three months.

The relocation package also includes $ 5,000 in cash, invitations to homemade meals at neighbors’ homes, a one-year membership to the local co-work space and the YMCA, free gift cards for the market seasonal farmer and tickets to productions at the local gambling den.

The Remote Worker Relocation Package is designed to recruit new residents to the city amid the growing transition to permanent remote work that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is part of a nationwide trend of workers moving to smaller communities with a more affordable cost of living.

Hock said 70% of applicants for Greensburg’s program are remote workers and interest comes “from across the country,” including Texas, California and New York.

“I think our aspirations have become much greater in the sense of, holy cow, there are all these people who want to move. Now we’re looking at how to find the people who really want to move and who want to move for the right reasons, ”Hock said. “We want to find people who will help diversify the economy, who have distant jobs that they can bring with them, who plan to stay in the community for the long term.”

Conveniently located between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Greensburg is home to approximately 13,000 Indiana residents. The downtown square is marked by dozens of storefronts. A tree growing from the Decatur County Courthouse clock tower has earned Greensburg the nickname “Tree City”.

“Once they’re here, our goal is to make them feel welcome. We want them to be integrated into the community in a way that makes it feel like they’ve been here for a long time, ”said Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh. “We try to create an instant community for them when they arrive and make sure they are successful here. “

A dozen other communities in Indiana also offer incentive programs to attract “knowledge workers,” who are educated and earn higher incomes, Hock said.

This includes Daviess and Greene counties in southern Indiana, which will give residents $ 5,000 to travel to rural communities. Bloomington and West Lafayette, two university towns, also offer university resources such as coworking spaces and networking opportunities to attract new talent.

MakeMyMove has identified more than 40 other communities outside of Indiana, many of which are smaller or rural, that offer similar relocation incentives.

Augusta, Maine; Newton, Iowa; and Morgantown, West Virginia, are offering between $ 12,000 and $ 20,000. Rutherford County, Tennessee, home to Middle Tennessee State University, will repay $ 10,000 in student loans. In Stillwater, Oklahoma, a monetary incentive is associated with free coffee for a year and a free month of martial arts lessons in exchange for settling the workers there.

Hock said the pandemic-fueled exodus of remote workers from large metropolitan areas to places like Greensburg “is a lasting trend” as millions of workers have been exposed to a new way of life and freedoms. offered by working from home.

“This is a new tool that they have and that they may never have had or considered before,” Hock said.


Casey Smith is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative Corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.

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