Arnold Sentinel: AEDC Applies For Chance At HGTV Town Renovation

Arnold Sentinel: AEDC Applies For Chance At HGTV Town Renovation
Photo Credit: Debbie Connelly

There has never been anything like it to happen at the school. On Friday, January 31 the kids, staff, and community members were asked to gather in the middle of the gymnasium’s floor at Arnold Public Schools. While Arnold Economic Development Director Cheryl Carson directed the cheering, Kristi Dvorak filmed the group. Principal Joel Morgan, Heather Hagler and Nicole Badgley yelled, “Welcome to Arnold! We’re…” and in their loudest voices, the group responded with, “Growing Great Things!”

It was all part of an application process that will hopefully bring HGTV to Arnold. Carson said she spotted the contest and chance to enter late one night on Facebook. The HGTV network was announcing an upcoming spinoff of its hit series Home Town, in which hosts Erin and Ben Napier will spearhead the renovation of an entire municipality, from single-family homes to public parks and more. Fans were invited to nominate their burg to be the one featured on Home Town Takeover on HGTVHomeTownTakeover.com.

Viewers interested in nominating their own hometowns for an overhaul needed to be aware of only one major criteria: the towns up for consideration were required to have a population of 40,000 or less. Submissions required a video tour of the village itself, with a focus on the buildings and areas that might need the most sprucing up, as well as stories from locals and photos that pointed to what is special about that particular area.

There were only a few days left to enter, so Carson contacted Kristi Dvorak, whose skill sets would be needed to take all of the ideas and put them in a video format.

It wasn’t an easy application process. Requirements included a biography and information about the community, submitting only five photos and putting together the 8-10 minute video.

Carson said that in the application and video they focused on municipality facelifts on sidewalks, awnings, and buildings. The old Archie’s Café was included.

“We looked collectively at the business district, not just one street. These guys love nostalgia. The emphasis is on the beauty of what’s already there,” said Carson.

In a press release, Erin Napier said, “This is a big one. HGTV has never, ever taken on a whole town renovation and restoration project.” Fans of the Napiers have watched the married couple completely transform their own home base of Laurel, Mississippi, one residence at a time.

“Renovating one house at a time is an awesome experience, but the chance to support an entire town, where we can help bring a community back to life and enhance the lives of the people who live and work there, is something we.ve always wanted to try,” Ben Napier said in a statement. The series will span six episodes.

As the saying goes, “You can’t win if you don’t enter.” Carson said that both she and Kristi felt that it was worth it all. They hit the entry deadline of February 4 and will now wait for the results. “It’s open to so many communities, so we’re going up against who knows what,” she said

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