ARCADIA — “A town with deep roots, resilience and people who look on the sunny side no matter what they have to weather.”
That’s one of the many heartfelt lines from a video submitted by DeSoto County to HGTV as part of an application for a new renovation show called “Home Town Takeover,” hosted by Ben and Erin Napier of the HGTV show “Home Town.”
While the county has been able to make some redevelopment strides since Hurricane Charley in 2004, the recession of the late 2000s and agricultural diseases, DeSoto and the city of Arcadia are still on shoestring budgets, hindering much-needed renovations in the area.
Win or lose, county representatives are looking fondly upon the application experience so far.
“This (video shoot) was fun, quirky and probably a longshot but we had a lot of fun doing it and appreciate all the people who came supporting it,” said DeSoto County Administrator Mandy Hines at a Tuesday county commissioners meeting. “We don’t always get to do a lot of fun stuff in local government but this was really fun.”
The DeSoto community came together at the end of January to take a group video shoot, shouting, “We love Arcadia,” as a drone filmed them by the “Tree of Knowledge” next to Oak Park Inn, at 2 West Oak St.
Marketing Alliance, a company contracted by DeSoto County for marketing projects, recorded the video. County staff debuted the video Tuesday morning at a public meeting.
County commissioners were pleased with the video.
“I love the video. That was beautiful,” said Commissioner Elton Langford. “You all did a great job. I’m proud that you all did that.”
Commissioner J.C. Deriso echoed Langford’s sentiment.
“That was an amazing video,” Deriso said. “Thank you all of you for putting the work into that. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Commissioner Judy Schaefer said it should be the top pick for HGTV’s new show.
“I’d place it as number one, if my vote counted in anyway,” Schaefer said. “Hopefully this will come to pass (for us).”
County staff aren’t sure how long before they hear back about the application, but they are pleased by the community’s response.
“The positive response to the video has been wonderful,” Tara Poulton, DeSoto County economic development and community services director, told the Sun. “We’re thrilled to know so many people love it as much as we do. Fingers crossed (we get to be a part of the show).”
The show has plans to make over an entire town. The criteria for the contest included a small town with a population of 40,000 or less, homes with great architecture, and a main street in need of a facelift.
With a population just over 8,200 (and just over 37,000 in the entire county), the county believes Arcadia has the components HGTV is looking for, according to a Feb. 11 DeSoto County press release.
Regardless of the outcome, the DeSoto County community didn’t waste any time in showing its support.
County staff published the video on YouTube around 10 a.m. Tuesday. Within 24 hours the video was viewed over 14,000 times and shared on Facebook 825 times.
“That’s pretty remarkable for a small town video like ours,” Poulton told the Sun Wednesday. “Fingers remain crossed.”
“People look out for one another (here),” said Debbie Wertz, DeSoto County Chamber of Commerce executive director, in the video. “They want to see everybody succeed. I think that the ‘Home Town Takeover’ would be beneficial for Arcadia. It’s going to spill over into our other businesses and restaurants and just be able to spur the economy. Everybody would benefit from that.”