Local cities vying for spot on HGTV

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JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — Several local cities are competing to be highlighted on HGTV.

People in Carterville and Carthage think the charm of their small towns could get them a spot on the show.

Cheyenne Merriman, Carterville First Baptist Church Developmental Coordinator, said, “The community here is so amazing. They’re such a network here that is makes it so simple to just want to give them everything.”

HGTV’S Home Town Takeover has launched a new renovation competition for small towns.

And people in Carterville think they have a good shot at making the cut.

Alan Griffin, Carterville Mayor, said, “The town has deteriorated over the last 20 years, probably to where our roads are probably the worst it’s been in a long time. But it’s not just the roads, it’s the involvement in our town and the sense of pride.”

Mickey Bulger, hopes a hometown makeover could do just the trick to bring the town back to life.

He’s interacted with a few thousand tourists traveling route 66 over the past 12 years at the shop his dad started back in 1946 — Bulger Motor Company.

Mickey Bulger, Carterville Resident, said, “That’s what I give them, the tourists. In turn, no charge, I just want them if they would to send me a postcard from their country. I have over 500 in my office.”

And with the Mother Road turning 100 years old in 2026, the Mayor of Carterville thinks a spot on the show could help them get everything prepared for that big celebration.

“By that time I’d love to have our Route 66 main street repaved. I know that that probably isn’t going to be covered in their plan, but positive changes,” said Griffin.

Just up the road, Carthage hopes the show can help keep the city a great place to live, work, and play.

Abi Almandinger, Vision Carthage Executive Director, said, “To give Carthage more recognition for Carthage and bring more tourists and that just improves so much the city as a whole.”

One carthage resident has taken it upon herself to help renovate houses on Grant Street.

Sam Swatsenbarg, Carthage Resident, said, “In 1994, we bought this house which had four apartments and a demolition order on it and we’ve always loved to help homes that were going into disrepair. So, we’ve been doing that the last 20 years.”

So, winning a spot on the show could help groups like Vision Carthage continue restoring the beautiful historic homes in town.

“We want to preserve them the best way that we can, so we think that kind of goes right along with what they’ve been doing already in their hometown,” said Almandinger.

To find out more information on how to submit auditions, follow the link below.

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