Burnside is known as the "only town on Lake Cumberland." Might it also be the only town on HGTV's new program?
The southern Pulaski City of Burnside is one of hundreds of communities across the U.S. to make a bid for a facelift on the upcoming television show "Home Town Takeover." Hosted by Ben and Erin Napier, the high-concept series is expected to run for six episodes in 2021, according to hgtv.com. In it, one lucky small town of 40,000 people or fewer will be revitalized and renovated by a television team
"Renovating one house at a time is an awesome experience. But the chance to support an entire town, where we help bring a community back to life -- that's something we've always wanted to try," star Ben Napier is quoted as saying on a publicity piece about the show on the website for HGTV, a cable network featuring programs about home renovation and decoration.
The website also states that "(c)itizens of the selected town can expect to witness the rehab of multiple individual family homes as well as the revitalization of public spaces --parks, local diners or restaurants and outdoor recreation areas."
For Burnside Tourism Director Frank Crabtree Jr., it just made sense to throw the town's hat into the ring.
"Burnside really does need the makeover," said Crabtree. "One of things I said in the video was that Burnside had never really had an economic development plan to take it into the 21st century."
That video, available to seen on the Burnside Tourism Facebook page, was a well-produced presentation put together to submit to the HGTV producers. Crabtree also took the opportunity to work with Deco Architects and send the producers some artists' renderings of the kind of look Burnside would be interested in, as well as specific projects and goals Burnside has in mind. That includes the ongoing effort to purchase the old school property and turn into into a Boy Scout training center and facility for the Burnside Historical Society, as well as a new-look Burnside Island.
"We want to make it into a national tourist attraction," said Crabtree, mentioning big ideas like a lodge, dinner boat, and transient docks.
Playing up the city's status as the "birthplace of the Boy Scouts of America," proclaimed on billboards in town, is another goal of the city's, and they hope it's something that can make Burnside attractive to HGTV.
In addition to that, "I completely submitted a brand-new Main Street to these guys," said Crabtree. "We need a new facade, to be a vacation town."
Citizens J.C. Tucker and Burnside City Councilor Carol Griffin contacted Crabtree about the possibility of submitting Burnside for the show -- "I took a look at it and (decided) to check out out," he said.
Crabtree isn't sure when Burnside will hear anything back. He does know they've got some stiff competition. As he understood it, about 1,600 towns had submitted their interest in being on "Home Town Takeover."
A report by WKYT last week revealed that other nearby Kentucky towns like Lawrenceburg, Mt. Vernon and Burkesville were also candidates.
Crabtree waited to the last day to submit his material to HGTV, waiting for extra footage to help persuade the show that Burnside is the most deserving town of the bunch. The website had crashed, and he had to call the production company to make Burnside's submission by private dropbox.
"So I'm anticipating a ton of people wanting to get their towns made up," said Crabtree.
He noted that it would not only be practically beneficial to the city, but would also be great publicity for a town that relies on tourism traffic.
"(The opportunity) just happened at the right time because we were already looking to change the facade of the town, the feel of it, and recreate Burnside," he said.
When Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson was asked if he was excited about the potential to see the town spruced up, he laughed and said, "Always."
He noted that the city hadn't been able to secure a grant through a Main Street Program last year so the show "could be a huge thing" for Burnside's desire to beautify its downtown area, along busy South U.S. 27 -- the town's Main Street.
"There are a lot of buildings sitting empty right now," said Lawson. "We'd like to make Main Street more attractive to businesses. It would be great to see Main Street fixed up."