Terre Haute to offer incentives for remote workers

·5 min read

Jun. 14—Terre Haute, joining a growing list of other Hoosier cities, will offer incentives to encourage remote workers to relocate.

The Terre Haute Board of Public Works and Safety Monday approved $72,000 to MakeMyMove, pending approval of an additional $72,000 in a matching grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

The city will also pay $1,500 for each worker who relocates to live and work remotely in Terre Haute, within a year.

Indianapolis-based Tmap LLC launched the MakeMyMove platform in 2020, with its website highlighting communities offering a variety of incentives, including relocating expenses.

The Indiana General Assembly this year designated up to $1 million and up to $1.5 million in 2023 to create a statewide remote-worker grant program. The program provides $5,000 to a worker to relocate to a community plus other incentives, which can include work space or tickets to local athletic events.

Mike Rutz, CEO and co-founder of MakeMyMove, told the Board of Public Works and Safety that "there is a new market of remote workers across the country, over 40 million that are right now full-time remote. They're moving away from big cities and coming to the Midwest and smaller towns," Rutz said.

"We have a platform that markets to [remote workers] and recruits them. We work with the IEDC. They are highly-valuable as they make on average about $100,000 a year right now. That is about $83,000 in new economic output in year one and $7,700 in new tax revenue," he said.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said the program is a creative way to "help bring those kinds of jobs to our community and tell people about our community. The MakeMyMoves group advertises nationwide across all these sectors of people who work from home, so you have an opportunity to talk about Terre Haute and all the advantages of being here and then you have incentives to actually locate here.

"It has been successful in West Layfayette and a couple of other places," the mayor said. "It will not do everything we want, but will help us to increase our market share of people who work from home."

There are MakeMyMove projects in other Hoosier cities, including Muncie, Bloomington, West Lafayette, Greensburg, Richmond and Marion.

"It is a good way to attract a workforce," Rutz said. "Twenty percent of the people that we recruit typically bring a spouse that works for an employer in the community. It helps grow population and diversify the workforce," he said.

The goal is to attract 12 qualified relocations to Terre Haute under the one-year program.

In other business, the board approved a $21,400 contract with Terre Haute-based Michael Waldbieser Engineering to produce a floor plan of Terre Haute City Hall.

"It is to produce floor plans for the whole building. While the first floor looks pretty modern, the remainder of the building has been chopped up over the years. We are looking at the future to try to make the most efficient use of the building space," Marcus Maurer, assistant city engineer, told the board.

Maurer said the plan will help the city determine what needs to be done for a future remodeling. "There are rooms that are offices that look like closets. It is a maze," he said. "It is pretty inefficient and the space has been chopped up over the years," he said.

The board also approved a resolution granting Heritage Landing L.P. an eight-year property tax abatement for a 64-unit subsidized senior housing building at 801 N. 25h St. The land was owned by the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission and would be environmentally cleaned up by the $12.5 million project. The City Council last week gave preliminary approval of the abatement.

The board also approved temporary road closures for several events, including:

—A request from Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church to close Patrick Street from 24th to 25th streets Wednesday through Friday during vacation bible school.

—A request from Indiana State University to close First Street from Sycamore to Mulberry, Chestnut Street from Second to First Street; Eagle Street from Second to First Street and Water Street from Eagle to Mulberry, Friday through Sunday, during Special Olympics Indiana.

—A request from Chances & Services for Youth to close Cruft Street from 12th to 13th streets from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday during its Juneteenth Celebration.

—A request from The Bridge Church to close 19th Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue during the 11th annual 4th Celebration on July 3.

—A request from Studio 12 to close Maple Avenue from Garfield to Lafayette Avenue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4 for a pie eating contest.

—A request from Hamilton Center to close 16th Street from Locust Street to Elm Street and Elm Street from 15th to 16th Street on July 30 during a "We Live Event."

—A request from Sonka Irish Pub to close 14th Street from Wabash Avenue to Eagle Street from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 30 for a sports car rally.

—A request from Terre Haute North Vigo High School to paint an "N" on the street at the intersection of Fruitridge and Maple avenues on Aug. 7.

—A request from SmokeN'Peace and The Dance Studio to close 13 1/2 Street from Wabash Avenue to Orchard from 5 to 10 p.m. during a downtown block party on Aug. 19.

—A parade permit for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local No. 157 for a Labor Day parade. The parade will start at 11 a.m. at the intersection of 11th Street and Wabash Avenue. It will proceed west on Wabash Avenue turning south on Fourth Street then turning west on Poplar Street for the finish.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.