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2 Local communities compete for HGTV prize

Downtown Oneida's unique architecture whispers to passers by tales of a different time.

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 5:40 PM

Downtown Oneida's unique architecture whispers to passers by tales of a different time.

"When we were a huge railroad hub here, it was just a really bustling area to live and then when the railroads left and then the industry left, a lot of the buildings got neglected over time," says Freelance Co-op founder, Abby Woodcock.

Oneida's mayor has enlisted the help of the Freelance Co-op to produce a video to submit to HGTV's 'Hometown Takeover' show, in hopes of getting the show's financial help reviving their downtown.

"When we saw the application criteria, we were really excited about it because it basically describes Oneida; small town with beautiful architecture that needs to be unveiled," said Woodcock.

One by one, people who live in Oneida came to the Co-op office on Tuesday, talking about the floods of 2013, what they love most about living in Oneida, and sharing stories about their relationship with their hometown. Their vignettes will be part of the video submitted to HGTV. If all of this sounds a bit familiar, it's probably because the Village of Boonville, too, is entering the HGTV contest, after fire recently decimated their downtown, displacing more than a dozen people from their homes and businesses. No cutthroat competition here, though.

"It'll be really cool, because we're like, I love this area, I grew up here, so I'm excited if it's Oneida, if it's Boonville, I feel like we're kind of all in this together so it would be great if a local community was selected," said Woodcock, adding that she was told finalists would be chosen in the fall, and production would begin in spring of 2021.

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