Wetumpka has long been known as the city “Where the stars fell,” thanks to its history with an 85 million-year-old impact crater.
Today, the city’s downtown is one step closer to potentially drawing two modern-day stars to its town.
Ben and Erin Napier, hosts of HGTV show “Home Town,” are looking for other towns to makeover. The couple successfully revitalized their own hometown of Laurel, Mississippi.
The City of Wetumpka is working alongside Main Street Wetumpka and the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce to apply for a spot in the upcoming series to help continue its efforts of revitalization.
Jenny Stubbs, executive director of Main Street Wetumpka, has followed the Napier’s work for some time.
“After becoming director of the newly organized Main Street Wetumpka in 2016, a friend of mine brought me an article about Erin, Ben and Laurel, Mississippi, and the phenomenal success being experienced there,” Stubbs said. “I saw Wetumpka as having the same potential and actually pinned the article to my whiteboard and have continued to be inspired by the work.”
Stubbs is hopeful the application will catch the eye of proven experts to assist the city as it rebuilds after a tornado hit January 2019.
Mayor Jerry Willis is excited about the prospect of working with HGTV, as well.
“We were thrilled to get the call from HGTV encouraging us to apply,” he said. “Working with Erin and Ben would give us the expertise needed to finally reach our potential in a way that is impactful and lasting. This would be the opportunity needed to kick start our journey to true, sustainable revitalization.”
Through the efforts of the City, Main Street and the Chamber, downtown has continued to undergo a transformation, most recently with the streetscape construction project and alleyway cultivating place project.
Shellie Whitfield, executive director of the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce, has been an integral part of the submission process.
“As soon as we heard about this opportunity with HGTV, I started making a list of all the things about Wetumpka that seemed so unique and wonderful to me when I first visited,” she said. “In fact, it was that charm and potential that convinced me to move here from Colorado.”
Stubbs sees this as a good opportunity to assist business and people who were affected by the tornado.
“We have proven our dedication to downtown revitalization, but with the devastation of the tornado, we now have this opportunity,” she said. “I hope to get help for local businesses and residents that are still reeling from the effects of the tornado. Our tagline is ‘We Can Together,’ and we’d love to welcome Ben, Erin and HGTV to our team.’”
For more information about the HGTV series “Home Town,” visit hgtv.com/shows/home-town.