Wetumpka chosen for HGTV's new series, 'Home Town Takeover'

Ben and Erin Napier will host HGTV's new series "Home Town Takeover." The couple host another show for the network, "Home Town," which features the Napiers' restoration efforts in their own hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. 

Though Moulton wasn’t selected for HGTV’s new Home Town Takeover series, another city in Alabama made the cut.

Wetumpka was selected as the subject for the new series hosted by Ben and Erin Napier, HGTV announced last Thursday.

Wetumpka and Moulton were two small-town cities among 2,600 others across the country considered for the network’s upcoming series.

The Napiers, who also host “Home Town,” a show about the hosts’ restoration efforts in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, sought out applications from small-town communities deserving of a facelift.

According to the HGTV webpage, applicants were instructed to submit photos and a 3-minute video depicting places in the community like coffee shops, residential and historic homes, a playground or diner that could use some renovation, and a Main Street that needs revitalizing.

With a population just under the 40,000 requirement and a devastated Court Street in downtown Moulton following the April 22 fire, the city easily checked the first few boxes on the application.

District 4 Commissioner Bobby Burch, who led efforts to submit Moulton’s video, said several phone calls, texts and Facebook posts prompted an informal meeting to see the project through.

Those present to generate ideas for the video included Burch, Moulton Mayor Roger Weatherwax, former President of the Lawrence County History and Preservation Society Ann Britnell, District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey, and several LCHPS members and community residents.

Burch said the video focused on a need for public space that will better accommodate events and festivals happening on the courthouse square, like the Annual Strawberry Festival and Lawrence County’s newest event, Christmas on the Square.

The video also mentioned the fire devastation that destroyed and displaced four businesses near the corner of Court and Main streets, and it demonstrated a need to revitalize the city’s downtown square.

With other surrounding communities vying for the spotlight, including the City of Sheffield in Colbert County and Phil Campbell in Franklin County—not to mention thousands of other municipalities and townships from across the nation taking a shot at the application—Burch said he knew Moulton’s chances of being selected were one in a million.

“Our chances are very slim, not because we don’t have anything great to offer, but just because of the number of entries we’re competing against,” he said in February. “However, we’ll always have this video we might use for future grant applications.”

The original submission video can still be accessed online by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpg6N4R-qjs.

Like Moulton, Wetumpka demonstrated its struggle to thrive following a natural disaster when a tornado struck the small town last January. Though no deaths were reported following the tornado, the city said widespread damage was left in its path through Wetumpka’s downtown historic district.

According to HGTV, Wetumpka was chosen because their submission “successfully showcased the community’s collective desire to champion revitalization, highlighted the work they had already done to improve the town and telegraphed a collective spirit of excitement and optimism.”

The six-part series Home Town Takeover is set to premiere sometime next year and will feature restoration and revitalization for Wetumpka’s homes as well as its businesses.

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