The historic Mississippi city is using an innovative incentive program to encourage remote workers to relocate there.
Natchez is located on the Mississippi River (Image: Pixabay)
The Shift South award encourages remote workers to relocate to Natchez to enjoy a lower cost of living in a "charming, historic community".
Shift South offers eligible workers up to $6,000 to offset relocation expenses when they move to Natchez or Adams County, Mississippi. Currently, there are 30 slots available for workers who qualify for the scheme.
The purpose of this program is to grow the Natchez and Adams County community by attracting individuals who can work from home and enjoy the unique quality of life along the bluff of the Mississippi River.
Natchez is famous for its antebellum homes (Image: Bennekom/Shutterstock)
To be eligible, new residents must purchase a home worth at least $150,000 and commit to living in Natchez for a minimum of a year.
In return, they will receive an upfront payment of $2,500 to help with relocation costs, and then an additional stipend of $300 a month for 12 months.
According to Natchez, Inc., the public-private partnership behind the initiative, historic Natchez enjoys an average cost of living that is 85.5% that of the national cost of living.
The city of Natchez will be the first community to offer such an incentive in the State of Mississippi.
Natchez, Inc. estimates that the city will see a return on their investment within 12 to 18 months per awardee due to an increase in property tax and sales tax revenues.
We are excited to be the first and only city in the Deep South to offer an incentive package like this to remote workers! In this new day, where so many people are able to work from home, we can think of no better place than Natchez. Our warm and friendly people, along with the river, our history, and our beautiful sunsets, make this a great city to call home” Mayor Dan Gibson, City of Natchez.
Natchez is the oldest post-European contact settlement on the Mississippi River (older than New Orleans by two years) and is home to at least 668 antebellum homes.
The city is also positioned at one end of the scenic 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway, a popular travel corridor dating back to the 1800s.
The parkway roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace", a historic travel corridor used by Native Americans, "Kaintucks", European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and even future presidents.
Today, the parkway seen as the state's recreational jewel and can be enjoyed not only as a scenic drive but is also widely used for cycling, hiking, horseback riding, and camping along the route.
Natchez is famous for the Natchez Trace Parkway (Image: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock)
Today, the city enjoys a lively party vibe on weekends, with cars crowded along the sidewalks and revelers packing out the bars while dancing to live music and gambling at the casino.
Meanwhile, what's known as the 'pilgrimage' seasons in spring and fall see local mansions are opened up to visitors.
During the pandemic, Natchez, Inc. looked for creative ideas to effectively stimulate the local economy during its recovery period. As such, Shift South was devised to grow the Natchez region by attracting individuals who can work remotely from anywhere.
Chandler Russ of Natchez, Inc., along with their partners, hope the charm of Natchez will attract workers from across the country:
“It is our hope that we can grow our community through this campaign and encourage those to join us in Natchez while earning a great living for themselves and their families.”
Cities and states throughout the country have long offered incentives to companies to relocate to their region.
However, as more companies are opting to allow or encourage their employees to work remotely during the pandemic, some destinations have gone a step further and began to offer similar incentives to individual workers.
The island of Madeira in Portugal recently announced it was planning to open Europe's first digital nomad village in an attempt to stimulate the local economy, by increasing trade among local businesses who are currently struggling with the reduced number of tourists visiting the island due to the pandemic.
The project, a first of its kind, aims to attract digital nomads from all over the world to go to work on Madeira. Professionals from major companies and digital entrepreneurs have been invited to set themselves up on Madeira and work from the island for up to six months at a time.
More information on the Natchez Shift South program and application details are availble here.