Kentucky cities offer up to $6,500 for people to relocate

One program offers a meet-and-greet with the mayor, a community dinner and other gifts.
Posted at 10:01 AM, May 17, 2024

Kentucky officials hope more people are getting out of big cities and heading to smaller ones like Frankfort, Kentucky.

"We're just trying to get our name out there and let them know, 'Hey, consider us when you’re considering others,'” says Frankfort Mayor Layne Wilkerson.

Frankfort is one of nine Kentucky regions and cities using incentive programs to attract more people, especially remote workers looking to relocate after the pandemic. Wilkerson had this vision before COVID-19.

"Once COVID came, that just accelerated the trend and made it more apparent that we need to do more to diversify our economy," said Wilkerson.

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The incentive offers $6,500 in cash, a meet-and-greet with the mayor, a community dinner and other gifts. Five people will be selected for Frankfort’s pilot program. One moved from Michigan last fall. This relocation incentive is just one part of the city's plan.

"Our remote Frankfort strategy is to train Frankfortonians to work in remote jobs — those jobs of the 21st century," Penny Peavler, Franklin County and Frankfort interim executive director of the Economic Development Agency, said.

Twenty-five applicants will be selected for that grant program. Both programs earn the city more in occupational taxes and notoriety, boosting the economy so the city can keep growing.

"Both attracting companies, which has been the economic strategy of old, you know, for the last 100 years," Peavler said, "now, it’s about incentivizing and exciting not only companies, but also individual workers."

This city may be known as Kentucky’s capital and known for its bourbon, but it has an even richer history. It’s part of what made Frankfort’s museum and historic sites supervisor, Dr. Eleanor Hasken-Wagner, want to move there.

"I love it here. I think we're a really wonderful and powerful state that has a lot to offer," she said.

Standing in the Capital City Museum for a few minutes reveals so much about Frankfort’s history. There's a lot for out-of-staters to consider. The Frankfort mayor hopes this program will mark the city's future.

"I think it’s going to be successful and so far, it has been, but it’s also the opportunity to try other things, and I think that’s what I want Frankfort to be known for," Wilkerson said.

More Kentucky cities have been added to the list. If you know someone who might be interested in a move, they can check out to apply.

This article was originally published by Rachel Richardson for Scripps News Lexington.