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Would you move to Bemidji for $2,500?

Because you can.

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Six months of paradise living. That's what Jose Correa is calling his Bemidji life with his wife.

"We're loving it it's like we have our own little resort we wake up to and go to sleep to," Correa said.

They closed on a beautiful home up there in February after deciding that they didn't want to live in Minnetonka anymore.

"We fell in love with this area, and found a house that we liked, plenty of land, my requirement was that it had high speed internet," Correa said. "And Paul Bunyan dot net really does quite well here with fiber optics, and I had my requirement of land out in the country living and high speed internet so I could work."

As the senior manager for an IT company, Correa says he doesn't need to be in the office – at least not anymore.

And that's the kind of folks Greater Bemidji had been looking for to participate in their 218 Relocate program.

"We are tailoring that to telecommuters right now, because of the pandemic and the ability for everyone to work from home, a lot of people made that shift, and now they can choose that quality of life that they really want, and work literally anywhere, so why not Bemidji?" Erin Ecternach said.

A fast internet connection isn't the only thing Bemidji is touting.

They have paid qualifying families $2,500 to move there.

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Since the incentive launched in February, 18 families have moved to Bemidji not only from the cities but from all over the country.

By the end of the month, Erin Ecternach, the assistant director of Greater Bemidji says 22 families will call Bemidji home.

She said Bemidji folks have also signed up to welcome these newcomers.

"I appreciate that we have this community concierge program where we have 60 plus people in the community saying yes, I want to actually welcome these newcomers, so these newcomers have people they can tap into," she said.

And Correa says he and his wife are fitting right in.

"It's the best move we ever made, I can tell you," he said. "I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Florida back in 2010. It's the best move we ever made, my crazy wife said lets do it our kids are grown let's move to the Midwest we've never lived there and honestly it's the best move we ever made personally and professionally."

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