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HGTV show piques the interest of city officials

STEUBENVILLE — HGTV’s call for applications for its new “Home Town Takeover” series has piqued the interest of city officials and organizations.

Ben and Erin Napier, hosts of HGTV’s “Home Town,” will go on the road for their upcoming series, “Home Town Takeover,” “to help you and your community revitalize the place you call home,” the network said in a recent press release.

The network is looking for videos and a few photos showing:

≤ A place in need of a makeover, like a diner, coffee shop, home or playground.

≤ A tour around town, focusing on places that need help and the people who love this town.

“Anywhere your town needs love and what you love about it.”

To be eligible, communities must have a population of 40,000 or less.

“There are some guidelines — you have to have some videos and pictures,” 6th Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

“It’s probably a one-in-a-million chance, but it sounded pretty good.”

Parks and Recreation Director Lori Fetherolf said she, too, had heard of the proposal, adding she’d “already broached the subject with the Harmonium Project because they’ve done (that sort of thing).”

“(The show) would do some housing stuff, make everything better and they would pay for it,” she added.

Fourth Ward Councilman Scott Dressel said he’d been told the show’s producers “want to focus on a commercial building, a residential building and something else.”

“There’s a good chance we would have a chance,” Villamagna said, adding multiple entries are allowed so “we can get different perspectives.”

City Manager Jim Mavromatis, meanwhile, told council there’s a “possibility” Municipal Court will be relocated to the Jefferson County Justice Center.

“If (it) does, that will free up space” in the old city building, he said.

Municipal Court is the only city office still housed in the building, and city officials have been exploring the feasibility of turning the remainder of the building into a public market, which would require separating the space and making significant security upgrades to protect the court staff.

If the court moves, the entire building would be available for the market project.

Mavromatis also commended department heads and city employees for their efforts in 2019, adding, “I think we’re going to have a pretty good year this year.”

Villamagna, meanwhile, reported two new stores are in negotiations for spaces in the Fort Steuben Mall, and another store is looking at the Tri-State Plaza. Negotiations are nearly done, he said, adding that, “I can’t wait to announce what they are.”

5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul, chair of the safety committee, called for a meeting at 6 p.m. next Tuesday to allow Ambulance Service Inc. to do a presentation. It will be followed by a previously scheduled economic development committee meeting at 6:45 p.m.

At Villamagna’s request, Council met behind closed doors to discuss the sale of property. After re-emerging, council voted to put a half-lot it owns at 230 S. Sixth Street on the market, reserving the right to reject all bids, and also decided to accept the gift of a lot next to the Pilot Station at the south end of town. The owner asked only that the city cover the legal fees, Villamagna said.

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