Chattanooga lures geeks with cash

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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