The southern Minnesota city of Winnebago has already waged a successful marketing campaign to lure businesses. Now it's in the midst of a second campaign - this time it needs workers.
In hopes of luring potential workers, city officials are offering 44 free residential lots to anyone who will build a house and live there for five years.Winnebago, which is about 20 miles north of the Iowa border, lost 125 jobs in 1986 when a computer-motor manufacturing company closed. Since then, the city has drawn six new industries to town, six retailers have expanded and the community's payroll has been increased by 90 jobs. Unemployment in the area is less than 2.5 percent.
"It's almost like everyone who's employable is employed," said Kathie Davis, spokeswoman for Region Nine Development Commission.
Winnebago's offer is the second such recent free-land deal in Minnesota. Koochiching County in northern Minnesota has offered free 40-acre homesteads to people willing to build a home, be self-sufficient and settle there for 10 years. More than 4,000 people have applied for that offer.