FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - A program aimed at attracting folks to the Shoals is thriving in the midst of COVID-19.
It’s known as the Remote Shoals program and it’s making a big economic impact! Its push to attract more people to the Shoals is working.
“When the pandemic happened, we noticed that a lot of people who were previously not remote are now remote. A lot of people were also looking to get out of big cities,” said Mackenzie Cottles with SEDA.
The Remote Shoals program launched in June 2019 with a goal of getting people who work in tech fields to relocate to the Shoals.
Right now, 18 people in the program live in the area
“Many of them have purchased homes and really planted roots here. So we’re really seeing that a lot of them aren’t really planning on going anywhere,” Cottles added.
The program has grown over the last few years, and there’s been a big spike in applications because of the pandemic.
“Application wise, year two, we have seen a tremendous increase in applications. I think that we are approaching 200 just for the month of March. So we’re approaching about 1000 for year two,” Cottles explained.
And, the high paying earners this program attracts are making a big contribution to the Shoals economy.
The annual payroll for folks within the program is around $1.8 million.
“Economically, it’s a big influx of people into the community, a big influx of dollars spent here, tax money spent here. There’s also just an influx of just really awesome people,” Cottles said.