Hometown makeover

Ben and Erin Napier restored several properties in HGTV’s popular program, “Hometown.” The couple will host a new pilot, “Hometown Takeover,” once they find the right town.

“Hometown Takeover,” a pilot spinoff of HGTV’s “Hometown” starring Ben and Erin Napier, is searching for a new locale.

Palestine may just fill the bill.

Tourism Director Mary Raum is encouraging locals to submit videos or photos of historic homes and Palestine’s Main Street District to lure ‘Takeover’ to town. 

The show could offer a unique opportunity for Palestine to renovate and upgrade historic homes and buildings – and gain coveted publicity. Palestine is second only to the city of Galveston in numbers of historic properties. 

Raum and other city leaders are encouraging residents to create a video tour of the town that includes interviews with one or more residents regarding why they love it, and indoor and outdoor views of homes and businesses. 

“We have one of the largest main streets in Texas. We also have a good mix of existing renovations. The improved buildings would serve as good before and after images," Raum said.

The Napiers successfully renovated several homes and buildings in their home town of Laurel, Mississippi, population 18,000, on the latest season of “Hometown,” one of the network’s most popular shows. (Palestine also has a population of about 18,000.)

“HGTV is ready for its biggest renovation project ever – a takeover to makeover an entire town,” its website says. The town selected will have a population of 40,000 or smaller, homes with architecture wanting restoration; and a main street needing a facelift. 

Each person can only submit one video up to 5 minutes, but no larger than 500 MB (5 megabytes), to HGTVhometowntakeover.com. Homemade videos filmed with cell phones or amateur video cameras are acceptable. Participants can also upload up to five photos, 5000 KB (5000 kilobytes) or smaller. Entries also benefit from a written description of the town that explains why residents love it.

Timothy Triplett, president of Historic Palestine, Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports historic restoration, said he enjoyed watching the show’s makeover of Laurel, and Palestine would benefit from a similar effort. Triplett owns the historic Gregg-Link building at Main and Sycamore streets, and has been renovating the building for about 15 years. 

“[The Napiers’] heart to preserve their community is wonderful.” Triplett said. “They take a property that is run down and neglected and turn it from a liability into an asset.”

The show would garner publicity for Palestine, which has “lots of material to work with,” Triplett said, but some unknowns could be harmful, such as competition with local craftsmen.

Palestine has a good chance of getting picked for the program – if residents get involved. “I'd love to see 15-20 submissions,” Raum said. 

For information about participating, contact the Visitors Center at 903-723-3014.

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