In the first eight months of Bemidji's relocation program, more than 20 people have moved to the city to take advantage of the offer.
Greater Bemidji 218 Relocate Incentive Package, which launched Feb. 1, was created to encourage telecommuters and those who work from home to move to the Bemidji area.
The incentive program pays people up to $2,500 in relocation expenses and offers a one-year membership to the LaunchPad co-working space, as well as additional perks like free access to the Community Concierge Program to connect new residents to the community.
Erin Echternach, the assistant director of 218 Relocate, says 18 people/families have relocated specifically for the incentive. And by the end of October, 22-24 people/families will have received a grant through the program (the grants are approved on a monthly basis).
People are coming from across the U.S. to move to Bemidji, with Echternach saying new residents include people from the Twin Cities metro, Colorado, North Dakota, Oregon, Iowa, Arizona and Kansas.
The incentive program is seen as a way to attract high-earning people to the area, which will help drive economic development.
The Wall Street Journal recently did a story on efforts by Bemidji and other small cities looking to attract remote workers who can move out of big cities but still keep their jobs in larger markets.