Monday, August 22, 2005

Time to Move to Chugwater?

In my last post, I talked about Al Gore's new television network called current.

Well, they just now ran a story on Chugwater, WY. This is one of those many cities that has an increasingly elderly population who are worried that they're not going to be able to keep open their schools (and their communities, really) if they don't get a large influx of young people willing to start families there. To help bring young people into Chugwater, the town is now giving away land for free to people who gaurantee that they will live there for a certain amount of time and do other community-type things (or start a company or other such things).

This is becoming a common story in places like Wyoming and the Dakotas (and I'm sure elsewhere). I was listening to Wait Wait -- Don't Tell Me! this weekend as it broadcasted out of Colorado. One of the audience members picked to play one of the games happened to be a mayor of a small Colorado town. Even he mentioned just before the end of his time that if anyone is interested in moving to his town, they'll give you a free plot of land to build your house on. Land is being given away EVERYWHERE! (I think some of these towns also do similar things to bring big companies in -- they'll charge them no real estate tax for large amounts of time, etc. etc. -- but cities do this sort of thing all the time, and I think they want people living there more than just working there)

This fascinates me, as it fascinated the guy who put together the documentary pod. It's fascinating to think about worrying that much about your town dying. These towns realize that they need outsiders (who probably don't share the same morals/beliefs/etc. of the rest of the town) to come into the town just for the town to keep its head above water.

This also makes me think that once I find some young lassie ready to settle down with me... Should I go west looking for free land? Would it be stupid not to consider it? Should I take the next flight to Chugwater (or the nearest airport, which is only 40 miles away) to see what's available?

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