The Tennessee Aquarium (right) sits along the Tennessee River. Chattanooga is offering $10,000 to lure talented individuals -- software programmers, in particular -- to town. The money goes toward a down payment on a home in an in-town neighborhood. No other city runs such a program. But the so-called "GeekMove" incentive is one of a slew of selling points -- fastest internet service in the country, outdoor amenities galore -- the city 100 miles north of Atlanta is deploying to build a "creative class" of young, talented city dwellers.
Chattanooga, the one-time industrial behemoth 120 miles north of Atlanta, is trying to become the geek capital of the Deep South.
A nonprofit is offering $11,250 in housing assistance to lure software engineers and other techies to town. There’s a catch, though: the new Chattanoogans must live in a revitalizing downtown neighborhood.
Chattanooga is already home to the nation’s fastest Internet service. City fathers also tout the region’s hiking, biking and hang-gliding amenities. Now, via the so-called GeekMove program, they want to create a cadre of smart and savvy technologists to help build a new economy along the banks of the Tennessee River.
Cities typically offer cash and tax breaks to companies that relocate. Chattanooga is going a step further by recruiting people with money.
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After a rough week in Washington, President Barack Obama came to rainy Atlanta on Sunday to be with a friendlier crowd, becoming the first sitting president to give the commencement address at Morehouse College.