The Square and historic districts in Athens are among the city's most charming features, but winning a contest sponsored by HGTV could certainly make marked improvements, an official said.

Tere Richardson, executive director of Athens Main Street, said she's been working to finalize the application process as part of the Home Town Rescue contest. The contest was announced by Ben and Erin Napier, hosts of HGTV's “Home Town.”

Richardson said the couple completed a makeover on their own town of Laurel, Mississippi, and they began looking for other towns in which to work their magic.

“They're looking for towns with less than 40,000 (residents), and they reached out to us to see if we would like to apply,” she said. “It's a nationwide search, so we're competing with other towns. We're going full force ahead.”

Athens Main Street has until Dec. 6 to complete the application.

In addition to the size requirement, the Napiers are looking for homes with great architecture “longing to be revealed” and a main street in need of a facelift. The couple is specifically seeking six commercial and public spaces in need of a refresh and six homes in need of renovation.

Richardson said residents who live in the Houston and Beaty historic districts have been sending in suggestions for home renovations, and she hopes to have the final list narrowed down by the weekend. She said the six commercial spaces would more than likely receive signage or interior updates, or both, as opposed to full-blown renovations.

Richardson said Athens is fortunate because the Napiers have visited the city twice before and have expressed how impressed they were with the city.

“We're doing our best to respond and show Athens in a positive light,” she said. “We know we're a classic small, Southern town with great architecture and a vibrant courthouse square. It's a place where people come periodically and enjoy, but we want to make it a destination people want to come to every week. We want to compel people to be here, and this could help jump-start that effort.”

For more on the contest, visit the Athens Main Street Facebook page. Visit hgtv.com/shows/home-town to learn more about HGTV's “Home Town” series.

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