The City of Jacksonville is now in the running to be the subject of a renovation reality show thanks to some quick work by four Jacksonville organizations.
The directors of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jacksonville Main Street and Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation learned about HGTV’s upcoming program, “Hometown Takeover” only two weeks ago. And after researching the contest, the four women immediately jumped to action to create a script, hired a videographer and entered the submission into the network by today’s (February 7th) deadline.
Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director, Brittany Henry first learned of the contest from a family member and contacted the other directors to see if putting a video submission together for the contest could be done in the short time frame.
Henry says that in working with Kristin Jameson, President of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, Judy Tighe, Executive Director of Jacksonville Main Street and Lisa Musch, President of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, that they had the right team to make the video happen.
“We all collaborate very nicely together, all of our entities work we together and I think that is what makes our community so strong. Between Judy, and Lisa and Kristin and myself, I think we are a strong team of individuals along with other organizations here in town.
But that’s what we do, when we see an opportunity, we definitely take that chance to move forward and see what we can do with it. It was a fun project to do together and we are hopeful our community will be picked.”
The town that is chosen as the winner of the competition will receive a ‘facelift’ by Ben and Erin Napier, the husband-wife renovation team of the hit show. The couple will spend a few weeks in the community updating private residences and public spaces.
Kristen Jamison feels that Jacksonville has many reasons that the Napiers would want to choose Jacksonville for the show.
“History is really their niche, they look at historic buildings, and homes, and we assume they will really want to concentrate on those types of things. Within the contest’s materials they talked a lot about having that classic Main Street feel, so we definitely have that with our downtown and have some gorgeous buildings
Some of them have been kept up very well and others could use some help. Sp this might be the type of series that could spur even more development in those areas. I speak in the video about inclusive economic development, and we want all of Jacksonville to be stronger, there are certainly neighborhoods that could also use some renovation, and given our rich history in Jacksonville, we feel like we have a good shot at being a town that is selected.”
To be eligible for the contest, communities must have a population less than 40,000 people, have homes with historic architecture and a main street in need of renovation.
Hundreds of communities have reportedly submitted entries to be selected for the show, including Pittsfield, Illinois. Jamison says that although the group leaders realize the odds are slim that their entry would be picked, she hopes that the video will bring about a greater awareness of the opportunities that Jacksonville has for growth.
And if HGTV hits the road to do scout for the show, her group would love to introduce the producers to Jacksonville, as well as other communities in the area. Because bringing awareness of Jacksonville and West Central Illinois is important for growth in the region.