“This is my hometown,” Medora resident Sharon Bowers says at the beginning of the video.
“Welcome to Medora, Indiana” then flashes across while the camera pans upward on Perry Street in the small southwestern Jackson County community.
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“This is where I’ve lived all my life as well as my husband,” Bowers says. “We raised our children here. We all graduated from high school. A couple of our grandchildren go to school here, as well.”
She then expresses her excitement for the opportunity Medora has to be revitalized, bringing some homes and businesses and the park back to life.
“We’re just really excited for the opportunity, and we hope we get chosen for this chance,” she says.
The community has submitted the video for the nationwide Home Town Takeover contest.
Created by HGTV, the contest has three requirements for its entrants: The town has to have a population of less than 40,000, have homes with great architecture longing to be revealed and a main street that needs a facelift.
HGTV’s website doesn’t state how much money would be put into the future project but notes it will be the biggest renovation project in the cable network’s history.
If chosen, HGTV stars Ben and Erin Napier of the hit series “Home Town” will take over the community to shoot a six-episode series that will result in a makeover of areas in need. The episodes would air in 2021.
Locally, Seymour and North Vernon also submitted videos for the contest.
The submission info is basic but requires video and photos as a major supplement.
Bowers, a former Medora Town Council member, and Shannon Hunsucker, district coordinator of Medora Community Schools’ Reach for a Star after-school program, enlisted the help of town resident Timothy Gothra to film Medora’s video.
“Shannon messaged me recently on Facebook and said, ‘Project idea,’” said Gothra, who operates Timothy Gothra Photography. “Shannon and Sharon Bowers are both so passionate for our town, and as soon as they saw this opportunity, they reached out to me right away. I’m so happy they did.”
Gothra said he recorded four of the six interviews from the community Feb. 1, and the remaining interviews and all of the footage from the town were recorded and edited before the Feb. 7 deadline. The video is 3 minutes, 49 seconds long.
“Doing this was important,” he said. “It’s a rallying point for our community. It brings a mind of unity to our residents. It’s a reminder that there are people fighting for better here. Medora has touched so many lives and continues to do so, and any opportunity we have to revive hope in our town, we want to be a part of. We believe in Medora.”
Medora winning the contest would mean so much, Gothra said.
“It would bring such excitement, such a hope for the future,” he said. “I believe it would spark new businesses, revitalize existing businesses and provide new opportunities for our residents. It would be an inspiration to thousands of other small towns across our nation that they aren’t forgotten.”
The second person in the video to talk is Seth Brewer, who also was born and raised in Medora. He says he went to school and his friends and family live in the community and his kids are going to the school now.
“Medora is home. … That’s what I would use to describe Medora,” he says as the video pans to show a home near the school, a couple of vacant downtown buildings and the brick plant historical marker.
Next to speak is Jenna Bowers, an eighth-grader at Medora Junior-Senior High School.
“Medora means so much to me. I’ve lived here all my life, and it’s such a safe place for kids,” she says, noting the town winning the contest would allow it to get things for youth to do to keep them out of trouble and make the town alive again.
Inside the school, sophomore Emily Bingham is shown speaking.
“For me, Medora means family. Everywhere that you go in town, you’re going to run into people that you know and people you just want to have a new conversation with,” she says. “I think for us to win this would just give our town so much hope, and it would mean so much to us and help us see a brighter future.”
Sharon Bowers’ granddaughter, Freyja Hacker, is on the video next, saying she would like to have a new town park. Images of the park are then shown, followed by the Carr Township Volunteer Fire Department, a vacant building that once housed Randy’s Market and Hardware and an old hotel building.
Muncia Walls, who is involved with Medora Pentecostal Church, then shares what the town means to him.
“Having lived here now for about 45 years among the small surroundings of Medora, Indiana, has been such a blessing to me and to my family,” he said. “Such friendly neighbors. It’s a beautiful place, a warm place to live.”
Hacker then jumps while exclaiming, “I love Medora!” before Brewer wraps up the video saying what it would mean to him to see the town revitalized.
“I’ve seen things change so much since whenever I was a little kid. There are a lot of things that are gone that were here whenever I was a kid,” he says as vacant properties of former industries are shown.
“There was a grocery store, several other businesses that are no longer here, and I think something like (winning the contest) would just bring hope back to the community to have something here for them to be proud of,” he says. “I hope something like this coming would revitalize the town. That would definitely bring hope people are wanting to have here.”
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To view the Medora HGTV “Home Town Takeover” submission video, visit facebook.com/watch/?v=606636206836732.