LSTA & KS Dept. of Commerce Offering ROZ Communities Free Webpages

Love Small Town America and the KS Dept. of Commerce Have Partnered to Bring ROZ Communities Free Webpages

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

From now until Feb. 13, ROZ Communities (towns or counties) can apply for a free webpage and Love Small Town America membership. You get a great, worry-free web presence, free advertising and promotion, a listing in our directory of towns and/or counties, and connections to a growing network of small towns. It’s easy, it’s free, it makes a difference. The Kansas Department of Commerce feels so strongly that this is a vital step for ROZ communities to take, they’re footing the bill so ROZ communities can get in on this great opportunity. Scholarships are limited, so apply as soon as possible to ensure you are one of the lucky ones!

What is the ROZ Webpage Scholarship?

A one-year scholarship (valued at $225+) that covers the cost of a community webpage and membership in the Love Small Town America network to provide accurate, interesting information about your community, share events, post jobs and real estate listings, connect local businesses with publicity and affordable webpages of their own, and get your community noticed!

Check out a community webpage and click through the different tabs to see the many features. Visit: Grainfield, KS.

What Are the Benefits of a Love Small Town America Webpage?

Our members are part of a network of small communities. Every member gets a full-featured web presence that is completely hassle-free. We do all the work, from building the site, to writing the copy, to performing maintenance and updates. We also include free promotion as part of the deal to help you show the world why they should call a small town home and to showcase the best small towns in America. Learn more about the many benefits you’ll receive as a Love Small Town America member when you apply for the webpage scholarship.

How Do I Apply?

Fill out a scholarship application and return it to Chris Harris at charris@kansascommerce.com. Communities (counties or towns) participating in the ROZ program with a population of 5,000 or fewer can apply.

Or: Contact Luke Mahin at Luke@Lovesmalltownamerica.com or 785-374-3067 for assistance filling out your application or to ask questions.

ROZ Scholarship Applications Announced

You know how passionate we are about small town survival – and about the Rural Opportunity Zones program as a great way to recruit new residents to participating Kansas counties. That’s why we are so excited that the ROZ Scholarship Application is now open. We’ve been working with the Kansas Department of Commerce for some time now, and they agree that Love Small Town America gives small counties and towns the right kind of web presence. They have decided to offer scholarships to Kansas ROZ counties or towns within those counties to cover the cost of a 1-year membership on Love Small Town America. Can you believe that? Lucky ROZ applicants could receive a FREE webpage on LSTA as part of our network for a whole year. That is phenomenal!

This kind of support from state government is what makes us so proud to be from Kansas. We hope all the ROZ counties will feel the same and want to take advantage of the chance to join our network.

In the meantime, we put together a page on our site to help explain what the scholarship covers (and what it doesn’t), why you shouldn’t wait to turn in your application, and what the next steps are.

As always, we’re available to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re so excited to realize that sometime this summer (fingers crossed) we’ll be joining a BUNCH of new communities to our growing family on the web. This means lots more exciting developments ahead, so watch our facebook page and twitter feed for the latest breaking news.

Links:

ROZ Webpage Scholarships

Joining Love Small Town America

Rural Opportunity Zones (KS Department of Commerce)

 

Rural Opportunity Zone Incentives Take Effect January 1, 2012

Would you like to move to a small town? How would you like to move to a small town and pay no income tax for 5 years and get help paying off your student loans? Well, who wouldn’t want that?! If you live outside the state of Kansas and are dying to call a small Kansas town “home”, you may qualify to take advantage of an ingenious new incentive program that is luring people to the heartland.

Small towns in Kansas have taken the Rural Opportunity Zones program and run with it. This program is a creative way to help people take advantage of the benefits of small town living while giving rural counties in Kansas an incentive to attract young professionals and families and reverse the rural brain drain. The program benefits took action as of January 1, 2012.

From the Kansas Department of Commerce: On April 11, 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) program. ROZs are designed to reverse dramatic population declines over the past decade in rural areas of Kansas. The program is a central component of a broader plan by the Brownback Administration to spur economic development and expand job growth in 50 counties around the state. The program took effect July 1, 2011.

With two attractive incentives, moving to a small town just got a lot more enticing. A state income tax exemption applies to individuals moving to an ROZ from outside the state. Forty-four of the fifty participating counties are offering a student loan forgiveness program as well that could net participants up to $15,000 off of their outstanding college loans.

Kansas reported a slight increase in population for the year 2011. By December, more than 150 people had already applied for the ROZ program, so we may see that number continue to rise. Most of the people who leave Kansas move to Texas and the Governor links this out-migration with income taxes. The idea is that ROZs offer an opportunity for Kansas to compete with states that offer more aggressive tax situations.

Gove County, home of the LSTA headquarters in Grainfield (and LSTA towns Park and Quinter), opted in to the ROZ program at the end of December and we are very excited about welcoming some new residents to our wonderful communities to enjoy small town living! The decision to participate in the ROZ means that Gove County (and all the other ROZ counties) are choosing to embrace change and take brave steps to a brighter future. It’s not an easy step – but we think it is a good one.

We hope we see more of these kinds of incentives: programs that support small towns, bring growth to rural areas, and give people the chance to create their own opportunities.

For more information on the program or to apply to move to a Rural Opportunity Zone, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

ROZs-designated counties are Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson