An Indiana town is wooing new residents with on-demand grandparents

Oct 24, 2021
Originally published on October 24, 2021 12:27 pm

Updated October 24, 2021 at 3:27 PM ET

Would you move to a small Indiana town for on-demand grandparents?

That's part of the benefit of moving to Greensburg, Ind., a town that's offering incentives for new residents who move there, including $5,000 in cash, a YMCA membership, gift cards to the local farmers market and a service they're calling "Grandparents on Demand."

Greensburg is about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis. It's a small community with a population of about 12,000. But the town is hoping to grow and one of the incentives it's offering is having grandparents on standby.

Tami Wenning, the director of the Decatur County Community Foundation, and her husband Dan are the grandparents up-f0r-grabs in town. They've held local positions in town and hosted foreign exchange students in the past — and they are also grandparents themselves. Stepping in to be grandparents, or babysitters at times, to help out new residents would help ease the transition into moving to Greensburg, Wenning said.

"When we have a grandparents day thing, it's packed," Wenning told NPR's Weekend Edition. "I would be more than happy to go to school and be there for a child so they don't have to go without a grandma."

In order to meet eligibility requirements for the benefits, you'd have to move to Greensburg within the next 6-12 months, have a remote job that's based outside the town, be at least 18 years old and eligible to work in the U.S.

Hafsa Fathima and Melissa Gray produced and edited the audio segment.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hi, Tom. Coming next live at 5 on the road from Decatur County, you'll meet the people of Greensburg and learn of the quality of life here.

ASMA KHALID, HOST:

That news clip from a local Indiana NBC station is 35 years old. But the people of Greensburg, Ind., still want you to get to know them, maybe even well enough to become neighbors. Greensburg is a small city about an hour southeast of Indianapolis, population around 12,000. But it has grand ambitions to grow. And it's offering remote workers a couple of incentives to relocate.

JOSHUA MARSH: I think there's a lot of opportunity in small towns and small cities across America, just like mine. I'm college-educated and a lawyer, as well. But I chose to come home.

KHALID: That's Greensburg's mayor, Joshua Marsh. He says new residents can look forward to $5,000 to help with their move, a free membership to the YMCA, which, by the way, has an indoor pool, plus this surprising perk.

MARSH: Grandparents on demand.

KHALID: Yeah, you heard that right. Grandparents on demand for all your grandparenting needs. Tami Wenning and her husband, Dan, live in Greensburg. They have grandkids. So they know the deal. And they are eager to step in for newcomers who don't have family nearby.

TAMI WENNING: When we have, like, a grandparents day thing, it's packed. I would be more than happy to go to a school and be there for a child, so they're not the only one without a grandma.

KHALID: Tami Wenning says she and her husband are very involved in the community. They've hosted international exchange students and played a part in the city's leadership. They consider stand-in grandparenting a natural next step.

WENNING: We have all that love and parenting and grandparenting skills that we don't mind sharing with the community. I said, I could be that grandma. And I bet my husband would be willing to be the grandpa. And he didn't blink. He said, sure.

KHALID: Mayor Joshua Marsh says this benefit could help newcomers adapt to that Greensburg way of life.

MARSH: I know that that would be one of the most challenging parts if you move to somewhere - would be, what do you do? Or how do you meet new people? So we're trying to, you know, sort of smooth that process out a little bit.

KHALID: Tami Wenning, who's also in charge of the county's community foundation, says Greensburg has a lot to offer - a new brewery, a historic downtown with a co-working space and, of course, that quintessential Hoosier hospitality.

WENNING: We - I guess we epitomize the Midwest. But we have what you need right here. And you've got the security of being in a small-town atmosphere.

KHALID: So far, the Wennings are the only confirmed volunteer grandparents on standby. Note they are willing to babysit from time to time, too. To qualify for this special benefit, new residents need to make the move to Greensburg within a year. And if enough do, hey, these grandparents on demand may be in demand, indeed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.