Fort Worth, Tx, December 16, 2019 (MarketNewsFirst) —  The lastest craze attracting bodies to small-town America is to pay families, writers, homeowners, and give them rent money, tax credits, discounts and other perks that get publicity and make the phones ring off the hook at the local chamber.  The fact is, these are working and bringing outside money helping to revitalize many cities that have fallen off the radar.

The New York Times ran a piece this weekend, and it was a continuing series of similar stories talking about Topeka, Kansas, titled, “ Vermont, Oklahoma and Now Topeka, Kan., Want You “ by Maria Cramer.  

The narrative of the article is that the cities in small-town America will pay you to come there, and there are stipulations, but often the only criteria are that you need to have portable income as a remote freelancer or remote worker who can bring in outside dollars.  Many writers fit this category, so these stories add to the media cycle daisy-chain, but many work young workers operate fully remote now, and are not afraid to pick up and move.

Usually, it is smaller towns like Topeka, Tulsa, Connecticut or Maine.  But the Village/City finds a benefactor, or government grant program, and pays your rent for 6 months, or a year, all have different categories and a range of opportunity, but basically, if your income is portable and you fly by the seat of your laptop, you can relocate to some cool growing cities.  It is a novel idea, and every city we called booked up in hours. 

There is no substitute for living on Main Street USA in any town with the ability to walk to the Post Office or grab a local coffee or paper.  This trend is returning, and we note the death of the local newspaper ran parallel and likely contributed to this exodus as local news got lost in the overwhelming availability of cable news stations for free to nearly every viewer.  No one needed to read ‘old news”, it has little impact and has become accentuated by Twitter as news delivery itself goes through a disruption.

But frankly the demographic of Main Street America is changing and passing the torch of land ownership, and who owns these buildings is in flux because the grandkids and children don’t want to live there.  Understand, they love their hometown, but they can make more money somewhere else.  Their objective was to get out of town many years ago and satisfy career goals.

If you look at the trend of commercial property ownership, the transactions are slower than previous decades, and when they do move a higher percentage of outside investor’s names are on new title deeds as the trend of passing down real estate among seems to be ending.  

The resurgence of small-town Main Street has to do with alternative marketing and attracting new blood into the area.  It is logical and it’s happening right in front of us. Maria Cramer of the New York Times in the article above had a similar observation writing about how local communities are marketing their cities, Cramer said, “ Add Topeka, Kan., to the growing list of places offering financial incentives to attract new residents and buttress an aging or stagnating population. On Thursday, Topeka officials and business leaders announced they were pooling their resources and offering up to $15,000 to people willing to live and work in the city or its home county of Shawnee”.  Topeka is one of many smaller cities not on either coast, who have long histories and are considered mainstream America that has succumbed to inconsistent economies and changing demographics.

The next step in the process is the return of the local newspaper, and we hope you Tweet about, or pick up the local paper the next time you drive through a classic town like Walhalla, South Carolina after a trek in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the E-Bike.  Stop by and grab a coffee and note a local Wine bar has just popped up across from where you sit, note also that many others are participating in the resurgence of main street America.