Home Local News Richmond County towns hoping for HGTV makeover

Richmond County towns hoping for HGTV makeover

Several Hamlet residents have submitted the town for a chance at a makeover by HGTV, according to City Manager Johnathan Blanton
Russell Parker - Richmond Observer

Richmond County could get some national exposure from a popular television network if one of three towns is chosen for revitalization.

HGTV announced earlier this month its plans to give a small town a makeover, after “Home Town” hosts Ben and Erin Napier were flooded with requests following the transformation of Laurel, Mississippi.

A press release encourages residents to “sell the network on why their small town, with its historic architecture and classic main street, should be the one town featured in the upcoming event series.”

“This is a big one,” said Erin Napier. “HGTV has never, ever taken on a whole town renovation and restoration project and we’re so proud and excited to be leading the team that will get it done.”

The selected town must have a population of 40,000 or less and submissions should include photos or video showing a tour of what areas need a makeover and the people who live there.

The project will include the renovation of homes, as well as parks, diners, recreation centers and other public spaces, according to the press release.

“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,” said Ben Napier. “You won’t believe what a small town with a shared renovation vision and the power of HGTV, Erin and me behind them can do. We’ve seen those changes in Laurel and we want to help another town do it too.”

The deadline for entries is Feb. 4, according to the press release. However, the online submission form shows the deadline as Feb. 7. The RO reached out for clarification, but did not receive a response before the story was completed.

Submission forms can be found at hgtvhometowntakeover.com.

Residents of Richmond County have already begun throwing their hometowns in the running.


Local business owner Sierra McQueen-Fowler (who also anchors Live at 5) posted a link Thursday afternoon about the renovations to the Facebook group What’s Up Richmond County, saying “Hamlet would be awesome for this concept!”

City Manager Johnathan Blanton said that while he has not formally submitted anything on behalf of the city, he’s seen where a lot of residents have already nominated the Seaboard City.

Blanton said there seems to be a lot of interest and is glad to see residents taking a proactive approach.

“I think any time we can get attention on Hamlet … it’s a good thing,” he said.

Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris was unaware of the chance for a makeover, but after reviewing said the county seat may apply.

“It’s exciting and we’re certainly going to look into it,” he said.

Rockingham has been in a revitalization period for several years, with about a dozen businesses opening or locating downtown. Two others, Sunset Slush and Speckled Paw Coffee, are slated to open within the next month and more businesses are expected with the opening of Richmond Community College’s satelite campus.

Ellerbe Mayor Freddy Cloninger said Thursday that someone is currently working on creating a video and readying a submission for the small town.

He said his wife watches HGTV all the time, adding that Ellerbe could benefit from any help or exposure.

“We would be glad to be a part of anything like that,” he said. “You can’t win if you don’t join the game, so we’ll have just as good a chance as any.”


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.