A population of less than 40,000. Check.
Homes must have great architecture. Check.
Your town must have a Main Street that needs a facelift. CHECK.
Dawson Springs fits the criteria to enter into a contest Home and Garden Television organized for the show, “Home Town Makeover.”
A group of Dawson Springs fans have submitted an application into the contest on HGTV’s website. The application had a few questions and allowed the users to upload photos, although HGTV encouraged users to make a video of their town.
Sixth District Magistrate Charlie Beshears led the charge with help from Peggy Furgerson, who serves on the historic commission, and Carolyn Walker, a retired English teacher and museum volunteer. The three sat down and planned out a video similar to how a college student would write a research paper, Beshears said.
“Something that was really hard was trying to all the wants and needs (in a four-minute clip),” Beshears said. The video featured photos of various trails, recreation and natural beauty settings around town, as well as the perspective of the mayor, local business owners and representatives from various groups.
A YouTube search of the contest submissions will show that cities across the United States are facing issues very similar to the ones facing Dawson Springs: dilapidated buildings and homes, the decline in population, historic structures in disrepair.
“We’re not alone,” Beshears said.
The video upload was capped at 500MB, which Beshears estimated around 5 minutes of video footage. The final video was 5:12. Beshears shot most of the video and Dawson Springs Police Chief Mike Opalek recorded the cityscape while driving in his police cruiser on a sunny Sunday morning.
Walker wrote the narrative, and Furgerson, Laura Duncan, Lindsey Morgan, Jonathon Storms, Jenny Sewell and Chris Smiley all spoke in the video. Sasha Fight, an employee with the Dawson Springs Independent Schools system, put all the videos together to create a streamlined version. A small group of those involved with the project were invited for a viewing the day before submission at the school board office.
Planters Bank branch manager Anita Black said the video was well done and it shows that the need in our community is there.
“We want to do better,” Black said.
Mayor Smiley said the HGTV project is needed in Dawson Springs.
So many people were applying for the contest that the servers broke, HGTV announced on Twitter on Friday. Applicants were asked to send an email to get a link to upload their photos or videos. The submissions were due that night.
The winning city will be featured in a new series on HGTV. The six-episode series will feature Erin and Ben Napier, who have revitalized many houses in their native city of Laurel, Miss. Their mission is to now take a town and revitalize it while keeping its history in mind, according to an HGTV article written by editor David L. Haynes.
“Renovating one house at a time is an awesome experience,” Ben Napier said to HGTV. “But the chance to support an entire town, where we help bring a community back to life — that’s something we’ve always wanted to try.”
As part of the series, individual houses will be revitalized in addition to public spaces, such as parks, restaurants and recreation facilities, HGTV said.
To view the submission video, visit https://youtu.be/IWEo9UqfWzI or check out the Dawson Springs Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.