By Crystal Burns
A group of Trenton volunteers ignored the odds and entered their town in the HGTV “Home Town Takeover” competition. The cable TV network is billing it as its biggest renovation project ever.
Based on the hit series “Home Town,” which finds host Ben and Erin Napier updating classic homes in their small, Mississippi hometown, the couple will revitalize an entire town in “Home Town Takeover.”
The competition is limited to towns with a population of less than 40,000, homes with great architecture longing to be revealed, and a main street that needs a facelift – all components Trenton Alderperson CeCe Jones believes her hometown has.
“We do have a history here that we’re proud of, and we want to showcase it,” she said.
Jones enlisted Nancy Hall, curator of the Fred Culp Historical Museum in Trenton; Brenda Horner, chairperson of the Downtown Trenton Committee; Crystal Burns, editor of the Trenton Gazette; and Paul Schulze, owner of Worthy Road Studios; to help with the project.
Schulze graciously donated his time and called in Gary Lockhart to edit the video required for the application. Jones also asked Trenton native and retired broadcaster Dave Brown to lend his golden pipes to narrate the video.
“I am honored to be asked to be a part of this salute to the hometown I love,” Brown said.
Alderman Tony Burriss agreed to film an interview for the video. Standing in front of the historic and beautiful Gibson County Courthouse, Burriss spoke about some of Trenton’s attributes – a historic district that includes homes built prior to the Civil War, the world’s largest collection of antique nightlight teapots, and the city’s inclusion on the Tennessee Civil War Trail.
He also noted the opportunities he believes are coming to Trenton thanks to Tyson Foods’ opening its new $350M operation just 10 miles south of Trenton in Humboldt later this year.
Gibson County Economic Developer Kingsley Brock has estimated that Tyson’s facility could bring 6,000 new jobs to the area in spin-off industries, retail, and other services. Tyson officials have said their plant will create 1,500 new jobs.
Brock estimates a $500M impact to the county.
“It gives us a lot of opportunity for growth,” Jones said.
Trenton is not the only Gibson County or West Tennessee city vying for the makeover, and with towns of populations up to 40,000 in the mix, local volunteers realize it’s a longshot that HGTV will choose Trenton. Schulze and Lockhart filmed and edited the video with an eye for future use, giving the city an important promotional tool in recruiting industry, small businesses, retail, housing development, and even families.
“This is a friendly town and a great place to live,” Burriss said.
The Downtown Trenton Committee will pick up the tab for Lockhart’s editing services with money from its $15,000 grant that is also providing for wayfinding signage to lead visitors to Court Square, the Teapot Museum, and other points of interest.
The HGTV application process has also provided an opportunity for Jones and others to show their love for and dedication to their hometown.
“We hate to see old homes and businesses coming down,” Jones said. “Every time we lose a building, we’ve lost a piece of our history. We want citizens to know that there are people who are interested in maintaining and preserving our town. We’ve got so many pieces of the puzzle. We just need some help.”