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Falkville pursues facelift contest offered by HGTV

The Town of Falkville has turned to the popular HGTV Network in its efforts to revitalize its downtown business district, instill community pride and promote residential and business growth. 

“Falkville is one of many small cities and towns under 40,000 population competing to be the subject for HGTV’s upcoming new series ”Home Town Takeover,” said Mayor Ken Winkles.  

“The odds of us winning are slim because there are so many entries,” he added, “however, the video and information in our application could help us in applying for state and federal grants in the future.”  

City clerk Dawn Estes said she submitted the application Jan. 21 after getting a tip from resident Cathy Wahl on the town’s webpage.  

“She picked up on plans for the “Home Town Takeover” series while viewing HGTV and thought it would be a good idea for Falkville to enter,” said Estes. We had to work fast to meet a Feb. 7 entry deadlineWe needed a threeminute video, five still photos, background information and a statement of our need for help to revitalize our town. 

Fortunately, Estes added, we already had a recentlymade video on our webpage. It highlights our streetscape, parks, schools and recreational facilities.” 

Ben Napier, co-host for HGTV’s popular series “Home Town,” explained the new show’s premise like this: “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,” he said. Show us those photos and videos. Tell us what makes your town special and how you’d like for us to make it better.” 

 The “Home Town Takeover” series will span six episodes and air sometime in 2021.  

Among Falkville’s most glaring needs is a standalone grocery store, Winkles said 

“We lose lots of tax dollars because our folks have to go to nearby Hartselle or Cullman to buy fresh meats and vegetables,” he pointed out. “Getting a grocery chain to locate a store here is one of our top priorities. We’ve come close but haven’t gotten there yet.”  

He also listed unoccupied, outdated commercial buildings in the downtown area as another drawback on the town’s image. 

“Nothing would do our town more good than to have those buildings renovated, occupied and open for business,” he said, “and town officials have taken a step to make that happen. This year, we’ve budgeted $2,000 as a matching fund for facade upgrades. The town will match two owners of vacant downtown store buildings $1,000 each to renovate their store fronts. So far, we’ve had one owner agree to the terms of our offer.” 

Some of the town’s other unfulfilled needs are upgrading Bobby Brewer Baseball Field, repainting the town’s water, adding downtown lighting and upgrading streets, drainage and sidewalks. 

“We don’t have the amenities of large towns, but we are proud of what we do have,” said Estes, “and we welcome any opportunity to grow and prosper.”