Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

City applies for feature spot in HGTV series

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Article Image Alt Text

In a screenshot taken from the city of Ruston's video submission to HGTV's "Home Town Takeover," Mayor Ronny Walker makes his pitch for the city to be included in the upcoming TV show.

Watch Ruston's "Home Town Takeover" video application here.

The city of Ruston is poised for a friendly takeover. In fact, it’s a move the city would welcome.

Ruston has applied to be featured in HGTV’s upcoming series “Home Town Takeover.”

During the show, Ben and Erin Naiper, of Laurel, Mississippi, lead a team of renovation professionals and make over an entire small town.

Though there are a number of things the city doesn’t know, like how many communities are vying for a spot on the show, when they’ll find out if Ruston has been chosen, and where money for the makeovers comes from, city officials say they’re excited to toss Ruston’s hat in the takeover ring.

“It would be a really neat way to highlight all that’s already been done (in Ruston) and all the possibilities that still exist,” Tori Davis, Ruston’s Main Street manager and community coordinator, said.

The city has submitted an approximately 4-minute video about the town, specifically featuring the Federal Building and Dixie Center for the Arts, both on North Vienna Street, and the Heard Building, located adjacent to the KCS railroad tracks in the heart of downtown.

“From what HGTV put out in their call, it seemed they were definitely looking for historic homes, places that were special in your town,” Davis said.

The city acquired the Federal Building, once the town’s Post Office, in 2016. It wants to turn the roughly 110-year-old building into a community art center but has yet to begin doing so.

The Dixie Center for the Arts was built in 1928. New motion picture options pushed it out of the theater business 50 years later. It continued as an entertainment venue through the 1990s, then fell into disrepair.

In 2006, after a decade of fundraising, the Dixie reopened.

The Heard building is a former grocery warehouse that’s now owned by the city. Officials have considered turning it into an indoor food court or other gathering space.

The city also submitted additional still photographs that focused on the Bonner Street neighborhood adjacent to downtown, Davis said.

Davis said Ruston learned about “Home Town Takeover” via social media.

“We thought it was an opportunity worth exploring,” Davis said.

According to the show’s website, in order to be considered, a town has to meet have a population under 40,000, should contain buildings with outstanding architecture that would benefit from revitalization and ought to include a Main Street area that is in “desperate” need of a makeover.

In the video, Mayor Ronny Walker calls Ruston “a great Southern city where family, faith and friends really do make a difference.”

“I’m from Mississippi. I’m from the big city of Flora and I lived in Laurel for three years,” Walker said. “I think Ruston would be the perfect place for a hometown takeover."