By Gerri Miller, EAN Staff Writer
A group of students from Wetumpka High School (WHS) is painting a mural downtown by Coaches Corner which will be premiered on HGTV. The group was busy working on the project this morning.
Wetumpka was selected from among 2,600 entries to be the subject of a new HGTV cable TV program called “Home Town Takeover.” The six-part docuseries will show Ben and Erin Napier leading a team of renovation pros to breathe new life into Wetumpka including several homes as well as some locally owned businesses and historic treasures unique to the city. The series is expected to air sometime in 2021.
“Ben (Napier) and I often speak about our love of small town living and what that lifestyle means to the people who live in one,” Erin Napier explained. “The people of Wetumpka know they have a small town that’s worth saving, and now the world will see why this tight-knit community deserves a fresh start.”
Adriene Duvall, the art teacher at WHS, said her students have worked on murals downtown for the past two years. The students painted paddles on display and worked on a downtown alley. She said HGTV contacted her about painting a mural downtown and she suggested that her students also be involved.
“When I mentioned I’d rather have the students involved, they got very excited,” she said. The students who volunteered have been working on the mural after school and on Saturdays.
“If you teach kids to be part of the community, they will grow up and stay part of it,” Duvall said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s just your school, the community, the town or the world. Kids must be taught to volunteer. It’s fun to be involved.”
Duvall said she is extremely thankful for the opportunity the HGTV show has given her and her students to play a role in the history of Wetumpka.
WHS student Kylie Wilson said she loves being part of the project. “I love to paint,” she said. “It plays a part in calming me down and relaxing me.”
Student Rachel Catman said she believes that it is important to help make her community look nice.
Hannah Ingram is another volunteer who really love helping paint a project for her hometown. “It makes me happy to see them (HGTV) bringing more life into our little town,” she said.
The Napiers and their production crew have been spotted around town since the announcement was made in July.
HGTV’s criteria for the chosen town required three things: a population of fewer than 40,000 people, homes with beautiful architecture “longing to be revealed,” and a main street that could use some updating. Applications, which also called for photos and a short description of the town, were accepted through the Home Town Takeover’s website through February of this year.
“This is a big one,” Erin says in the release announcing the show. “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.”