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Spencer, Salisbury residents submit application for HGTV’s ‘Home Town Takeover’

By Shavonne Walker and Liz Moomey

news@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — HGTV is starting a spin off of its show “Home Town” to revitalize a downtown that needs some TLC, with Salisbury and Spencer hoping to be selected.

The six-episode special event, called “Home Town Takeover,” is slated to air on HGTV in 2021. Hosts Ben and Erin Napier will rehab multiple individual family homes as well as the revitalize of public spaces, including parks, local diners or restaurants, and outdoor recreation areas, according to the show’s site.

In Spencer, David Karczewski, who serves on the town’s planning board and Historic Preservation Commission, said he’s aware of revitalization concerns from Spencer residents and “just ran with it” when he received the idea from his wife to submit a video.

Karczewski met with the board of aldermen and enlisted help from the Spencer residents.

“I want to get Spencer back on the map and make sure we have a say,” he said.

Mayor Jonathan Williams said his immediate response was “sure, great, go for it and let us know how we can support you.” Williams said he was a fan of the “Home Town” series and saw the transformation of Laurel, Mississippi.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Williams said. “Spencer is the epitome of what the show is looking for.”

Karczewski said the fact that Chewy, a pet product retailer in the midst of a $55 million distribution center project, is in Rowan County means the surrounding towns should be prepared to receive potential homeowners.

“Chewy is coming and we are in no way prepared for that many people to come across the bridge to work, live and buy services in Spencer. I think we need help,” Karczewski said.

In the video, Williams spoke about the 158,000 tourists per year brought into the town to visit the N.C. Transportation Museum. He said the town is blessed to have an asset like the museum and the town needs to capitalize on it.

Williams said told the Post he was impressed citizens are stepping to the plate and showcasing their talents to feature Spencer.

Karczewski enlisted Jessica Mosher, owner of Nebulux Music School in Spencer, to help as videographer.

“I wanted to keep this project local. I didn’t want to send it off to some videographer who didn’t know the town,” Karczewski said.

Karczewski saw a Youtube clip under Hi-Tech Hikers who shot aerial footage using a drone of the N.C. Transportation Museum and reached out to the Youtube account and asked if he could use some footage for the video submission. He gave Mosher his vision which included interviews with residents and business owners.

“I want people to know we are more than just an empty town. We are a thriving community. We just don’t have the resources to help our citizens,” Karczewski said.

Mosher said the video captured a “diamond in the rough” in Spencer. She said there is a “certain magic” to Spencer, with trains running through the town and drums from North Rowan High School filling the air.

“You can do anything here,” Mosher said. “You can turn anything into any type of dream.”

Mosher said having the town on the show would be a morale booster and encourage other individual projects.

To be featured in the show would be a spark for Spencer, Williams said.

The process began about four weeks ago and progressed quickly after. Video submission were due Feb. 4.

If chosen for the HGTV hit show, Karczewski said it would mean the town would get the recognition he feels it so desperately needs. It’s an opportunity to keep the past alive and look forward to the town’s future, Karczewski said.

“The thing that I found out about the people in Spencer is they don’t give up very easily. They brush off their sleeves and get back right back at it,” Karczewski said.

•••

Two miles away, sisters Abbi Heilig and Mandi Boedicker decided to submit a video for a hometown takeover in Salisbury. Boedicker said their family has lived in Salisbury for multiple generations. Their father is the president of Gamewell Mechanical and their mother is a retired teacher. They are also fans of the HGTV show.

The sisters contemplated featuring a part of Salisbury, like City Park, but soon decided to expand and showcase much more of the city, including the Depot, Koco Java, 3 Jems, Stitchin’ Post, Fullers Market, Spanky’s Homemade Ice Cream & Deli and the Empire Hotel.

“The historic part brought all of us here,” Heilig said in the video. “An upcoming, rising art scene, music scene and a great community is what keeps us here, but our downtown and our parks need a little face lift. It needs a little something to keep us going.”

They spent two and a half days filming and editing the seven minute video.

Boedicker, who owns branding and website design business Dry Ink Design, said Salisbury would be the perfect place to feature on the show because of its architecture and community.

Heilig said she wanted to show work that is already going on and places that need improvement. She said it’s nice to see cute places that are flourishing and sad to see the other places that are empty.

Heilig said she gets a heartwarming feeling thinking of Salisbury.

“I realize more generations continue to stay in Salisbury,” she said. “There is just that heartwarming peace and community. It puts me at ease that my parents and grandparent chose it as well.”

HGTV is currently reviewing its submissions.

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