The Village of Swanton has thrown its hat into the ring for a chance to be revitalized on an HGTV program. The web site for “Home Town Takeover” says HGTV is ready for its BIGGEST Renovation Project EVER — a takeover to makeover an ENTIRE town.”
Ben and Erin Napier of the series “Home Town” will hit the road for their upcoming series “Home Town Takeover” with the goal of revitalizing a community.
“With the hype of HGTV’s new show “Home Town Takeover,” making its rounds on social media, Village officials thought it would be a good opportunity to show off the wonderful Swanton community,” said Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle. “Our team discussed the pros and cons of submitting a video and felt the pros definitely outweighed the cons.”
On Monday, members of the community gathered to make a portion of the video. Adults formed a heart at the intersection of N. Main and Dodge streets and high school students – clad in purple – formed the inside of the heart.
A drone was high above to get an overhead shot of the heart in the heart of downtown Swanton.
“It was great to see a good turnout of community members, including SHS students, for a group shot in the video,” said Hoelzle. “I think what will set Swanton apart are the beautiful homes and buildings that just need a little bit of love.”
A thriving downtown is an important part of most communities.
“Main Street is the heart of the community,” said Neil Toeppe, Swanton Mayor and Chamber of Commerce president. “It is rich in architectural detail. A thriving downtown becomes a gathering place for young and old and a point of pride for the community. It is a place that welcomes visitors and shoppers.
“When someone says they are from Swanton or any town the image of Main Street or their downtown is the image that comes to mind. What image comes to mind when you hear Perrysburg, Sylvania, Maumee, Grand Rapids? I’ll bet the image of their downtown or Main Street comes to mind.”
Swanton leaders have recognized that and the addition of new businesses in the downtown area has already started a revitalization.
“About three years ago there were no retail shops on Main Street,” said Toeppe. “Today there are four retail shops, a winery and a coffee and bake shop. Recently I received a call from a lady looking for a potential store front for another retail business. And now we are running out of store fronts. Who could have imagined that just a few short years ago?”
The new businesses, all women owned, have formed a small business group that has been planning events each month to attract visitors downtown.
“This past Saturday was the Second Annual Pajama Day. A day in which the retail shops and other businesses offered up to 50% discounts to shoppers who came in their pajamas,” said Toeppe. “It was an amazing success. Main Street was teaming with shoppers. Benfield Wines is becoming very popular for its painting parties. Their business brings visitors from all over to take part and when they are having one of these evening events the parking spots are filled.”
The area historical society has also been working on a plan to bring the historic Brailey Depot and a new train viewing platform to Chestnut Street. The Village has started a program that will award grants to downtown businesses to make facade improvements.
“I love hearing a lot of positive comments about how Main Street is coming back to life,” Toeppe said. “And I’m hearing that a lot. If we can get some help through the TV program to help freshen up Main Street, just watch Swanton thrive.”
Applicants are asked to submit photos or a video showcasing their town. According to the HGTV website, a submission should show a place that you think needs a makeover, a tour around town, and anywhere your town needs love and what you love about it.
“The criteria for a submission are fairly vague (populations less than 40,000, Main Street needing a facelift, homes waiting to be revealed). Our team said check, check, and check to the criteria and set off on brainstorming what to submit,” said Hoelzle. “Submissions are due by Friday Feb. 7 but that is all the information the website provides at this time. Our team hopes to know more in the upcoming weeks.”