StarBound Entertainment

The crew from StarBound Entertainment inflates balloons, including the 40-foot Nutcracker making his debut appearance, prior to the start of Saturday’s parade

A group of individuals and local entities are joining forces to apply for a television show aimed at the revitalization an entire town.

“Home Town Takeover” is a six-episode series premiering on HGTV in 2021, and will be hosted by Ben and Erin Napier. The pair are the current hosts of “Home Town” on the same network.

“I think it’ll build on momentum that’s already on an upswing,” said Angie Urban of New Visions. “Continuing to look at opportunities for New Castle that can provide growth and can provide hometown pride and can put a spotlight on the potential New Castle has, to kind of reinvent and revitalize, would be certainly significant in our efforts to help make these things happen.”

According to Urban, a group of more than a dozen people attended a brainstorming meeting last week after some buzz on social media began about the contest.

“We just kind of talked about what is the story that we can help share about New Castle and how much people here love it,” said Urban.

Applications must show, tell and sell the town by showing a place that needs a makeover, such as a home or restaurant, a tour around the town and a place that needs love and why you love it through a narrative, photos and a video.

Lori Daytner, the vice president of program development for DON Services, also attended the meeting and said some of things that may be highlighted in the application include fireworks, the Warner Brothers theater and being a post-industrial city.

“You can’t capture everything in the limitations that they’ve given us,” said Daytner. “Quite honestly, there’s so much of a story to tell about our history, our architecture, our people and why we love this city, and why we are continuing to work on improving it, and why we would love to have this program come in and highlight some of that and complement that work.”

“It’s really hard to fit that message into such a constriction,” Daytner continued. “At least it would be for me.”

The application is limited to five photos, one video and a narrative. The deadline for applications is Feb. 7.

The focus of the application, Urban said, will focus on the architecture on the lower North Hill to shopping on East Washington Street.

Parameters for qualification include having a population under 40,000, and applicants should try to highlight unique or specials features around their town including architecture and a special destination.

The competition is open nationwide, and towns in states like New York and Oklahoma have set their eyes on the prize as well.

“It’s a tough pool, tough competition I’m sure it will be, but if we don’t try then we definitely won’t get it,” said Urban.

Other entities involved in the application are Vital Friend Works, the New Castle Downtown Business Association, New Visions for Lawrence County, Lawrence County Historical Society, Lawrence County Partners for Preservation, Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, Human Services Center and the Pleasant Hill Historians.

Urban said citizens can help contribute to the application by submitting testimonials regarding what they love about New Castle in 100 words or less as well as photos and videos.

They can be emailed to the New Castle Downtown Business Association at by Friday.

“I think it will really be a great way to highlight all of the good work that has been happening in the city,” said Daytner.


Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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