HGTV show application brings out some city spirit, officials

Sean C. Morgan

Sweet Home leaders want to get the city on TV – in a good way.

Between basketball games Friday night at Sweet Home High School, a crowd urged the HGTV channel to “take over” Sweet Home in HGTV’s upcoming television show “Home Town Takeover.”

Local videographer Brian Hutchings, with help from Barry Tevis, filmed the audience as part of a video he is making to submit to HGTV.

A few weeks ago City of Sweet Home Community and Economic Development Director Blair Larsen began looking for someone to make a video to submit. Two weeks ago, about 10 people met at City Hall twice to discuss putting Sweet Home’s name into HGTV’s hat for a new program that will feature a makeover for the entire town.

“Other people were already talking about it by the time I brought it up,” Larsen said. The program is open to cities with populations of 40,000 or less. Entering doesn’t require much, just a video. “We kind of figured, ‘Hey, why not.'”

Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, he said, it’s gotten people talking about Sweet Home; and it will provide material and footage Sweet Home can re-purpose for marketing in the future.

During the meetings, “everybody agreed we’d love to see downtown spruced up,” he said.

“We talked about what are the things we love around Sweet Home,” Larsen said. Top of the list was the natural beauty as well as the community pride and spirit – “the willingness to get things done – all of the things that kind of bring the community together.”

That shows “we’re not just looking for a handout,” Larsen said, but rather an opportunity to make things better.

“(Sweet Home) already is great,” he said, but “no matter how great you are, you can always do better. You fix up some little things, and it’s a completely different picture.”

If HGTV doesn’t pick Sweet Home, “we’ll move forward in our own way,” Larsen said.

The application is due Friday.

In the new program, Ben and Erin Napier of the series “Home Town” will hit the road to help revitalize a community. The program will look for homes with “great architecture longing to be revealed” and a “main street that needs a facelift.”

According to HGTV, “Home Town Takeover” is a six-episode special event that will air in 2021. It will feature the rehab of multiple individual homes, parks, local diners and outdoor recreation areas.

Hutchings, of Crawfordsville, worked in Hollywood for 30 years as a color correction artist. Among his projects is “20 Feet from Stardom,” a 2014 Oscar winner for “Best Documentary,” which may be viewed on Netflix.