Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Free land... free land...

Fed up with city living? Looking for wide open spaces? Want to start a new life?

Perhaps you saw this in today's USA Today:
Towns offer free land to newcomers
By John Ritter, USA TODAY
ELLSWORTH, Kan. — Billy and Sheila Canaan just wanted out of Baton Rouge. They didn't expect to be bit players in a new movement to keep the Great Plains from emptying.

Billy gave up a $90,000-a-year deputy sheriff's job for one that pays a third as much. Sheila kept slipping on the thick ice of a bitter Kansas winter and broke a rib. Son Clayton reluctantly started his senior year at a new high school. To their Cajun palates, Midwest cooking had all the zing of roasted cardboard. (Clayton keeps hot sauce in his locker.)

So why Kansas, when other rural states offer the same unhurried pace and relaxed lifestyle the Canaans sought? And why Ellsworth, a town of 2,900 with one grocery store, one stoplight and no mall, no fast food and no movie theater?

Free land is why. Ellsworth's pitch is this: Agree to build a house here and pay nothing for the lot it's on. Got three kids in school? OK, that's worth $3,000 toward a down payment. Need jobs? We'll help you find them. Still not sure? Come visit, we'll show you around.
I'm thinking, "Did I read that right? They'll give me land and money toward a down payment?" Hmmmm... how well do I like living in Portsmouth?

Don't think every state is headed this way:
Joe Kiolbasa (City Manager in Sterling, CO) said Colorado municipalities also have used land as a means of attracting jobs, rather than residents. "On occasion they do use land for economic development. It's sometimes given for favorable rates for the creation of so many number of jobs," he noted.

But he doesn't see similar programs to bring in more residents being viable in Colorado, for one reason in particular.

"The cities in Colorado don't have the land to give away," he said.
Kansas will welcome you, however. Kansas Free Land!
Kansas is a great place to live, play, work or own a business. We would like you to consider moving to Kansas and have created incentives to draw you to our wonderful state.

Several communities in Kansas are offering free land and other incentives. Our goal is to help our rural areas sustain and grow economically. We welcome you to take a look at the various communities offering incentives. Click on the City name and you will be redirected to their webpage. Each community’s incentives are unique and offered by local government or development groups.
It's like the land rush of the 1800's.

Ready! Set! Go!

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