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Lincoln County Leading Growth Trend

Lincoln County
Lincoln County

A pilot project to recruit remote workers to Lincoln County has worked so well that 23 other counties are getting in on the new strategy that is helping stage a resurgence of rural America.

"We're really pleased with the response and are ready to go beyond our original goal of recruiting new neighbors," said Kelly Gourley, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation. "What's really great is that our neighboring counties have seen our success and want to use it, as well."

The Innovation Center is funding the expansion and supported Lincoln County's pilot effort, as well.

"We were watching Lincoln County closely and were blown away by how quickly they were able to meet their goals and by the caliber of new residents they attracted. We're highly optimistic that we will also exceed expectations," said Scott Sproul, President and CEO of the Innovation Center.

Lincoln County is working with MakeMyMove, the country's first and only online marketplace where remote workers can explore the communities that are incentivizing their relocations, to attract new residents.

The other counties are modeling their programs after Lincoln County's, which offers movers $4,500 in cash, $500 toward high speed internet service, a dozen farm fresh eggs every month for a year and other perks. Movers must commit to move within six months, live there for at least a year, earn at least $50,000 a year and work remotely among other criteria.

"The money is just the hook," said Gourley. "It won't make someone like where they live; it's what comes after that makes someone feel good about the move."

Early moves to Lincoln County, population fewer than 2,929, have come from suburban Atlanta, population 6.9 million. Other movers to Lincoln have come from suburban Dallas, population 7.6 million, Memphis, population 621,000 and Concord, North Carolina, population 110,000.

"Our movers are looking for a safe community where their kids can ride their bikes and the parents don't worry about them," Gourley said. "We really work hard to ensure our movers know what we offer, and what we don't so there's no movers' remorse. And we work to match them up with people who'll not just introduce them to our community, but welcome them in."

Ayenna Gomez took the offer and moved to Kansas from suburban Atlanta. "They even had some of the townspeople unload my moving truck up a flight of stairs. Wow. Home sweet home," she said.

(Information courtesy MakeMyMove.)