By Fred Stabbert III
JEFFERSONVILLE October 5, 2004 And with a bang of his wooden gavel, Mayor Ed Justus officially began the Village of Jeffersonvilles first Town Haul meeting on Saturday afternoon.
It wasnt your average meeting. But then again, refurbishing several buildings in your village isnt your average project, especially when you have been chosen to be the premier village for TLCs newest television series Town Haul.
With lights ablaze, cameras rolling from every angle and mikes in place, more than 150 people crammed into a basement room at St. Georges Church in Jeffersonville to recreate a Town Hall meeting and kick off the filming of the new six-episode series, which will premier January 22, 2005.
Welcome everyone, Mayor Justus said from behind a small podium. This is finally happening. I would like to turn this meeting over to Genevieve Gorder.
Gorder, a designer who came to national prominence for her funky, free-spirited appearances in The Learning Channels (TLC) successful Trading Spaces, then took over the meeting, black high heels and all.
This is why we chose Jeffersonville, you show up for work! Gorder, the host of the new show, said. Look at everybody here
you care. We are not remaking your town, not reshaping the way you live. Theres nothing wrong with what you got going on.
Instead, TLC has chosen a handful of projects throughout the village, mainly facade improvements, to make Jeffersonville even more aesthetically pleasing.
Led by her able-bodied builders, namely General Contractor Ray Romano, Outside Carpenter Jimmy Little, and Landscape Architect William Moss, Gorder promised, No hay on your wall unless you ask for it. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.
And the input, all recorded on tape for inclusion in upcoming shows, was constructive (pun intended).
Sharon Green, a preservationist from Youngsville, wanted to make sure the work done was historically correct.
The first project to be unveiled was the facade improvement on Amazing Bargains, a discount store owned by the Antoniou family.
Gorder asked if anyone remembered what the former bowling alley used to look like.
Barbara Hahn, a community booster, said, The picture on the plaque in the alley-way is the original.
She then told Gorder that a family member was still living and she would know the original colors.
Gorder, with the help of Jeffersonville citizenry, then elected a secret project manager, who was given a golden hardhat and will be responsible for overseeing their project to fruition.
Your job is to get people to show up for work and execute this design, Gorder said.
Fosterdale Motel owner Joe Tinari then asked the TLC crew if a permanent record will be kept of the Jeffersonville community working together.
Yes, replied Gorder. We will be making a documentary
sort of This Is Your Life. Be yourself.
The next order of business was to introduce the other projects, namely an apartment renovation at the Peggy and Russ Johansen home on Terrace Ave.
Who doesnt know Cowboy Bob? Gorder asked in her best mayoral impersonation.
A disabled resident of the Town of Delaware who has to ride his scooter 45 minutes every day to reach Jeffersonville, Cowboy Bob will be getting a new apartment in the village, thanks to the Johansens.
Disabled people need nice places too, Gorder said.
Were thrilled to have Cowboy Bob, Peg Johansen said. We are a little nervous with all the excitement, but the TLC staff has been wonderful.
Meeting No. 2
In the world of television, much work can be done in a single day and then edited to fit the episodes. To avoid having to ask 150 people to come out for a second Town Haul meeting, the crew quickly took a break, moved around some faces in the crowd and began shooting.
The next project certainly got the most attention and that was the redesign of Kellys Kones on the end of Main St.
Kids ages 11 to 65 all stood up to make their feelings known how Kellys Kones could become a more customer attractive place.
From additional flavors to seating, awnings to service window heights, it was all discussed.
Romano gave everybody the thumbs up and said he would get right to work.
In an unusual twist to the reality TV show format, one resident actually fainted at the conclusion of the second meeting.
The cast, which sat facing the audience like a real town board, went dashing out of the room to make sure the person was OK, and after assurances by several people, filming continued.
This is reality TV, anything can happen, Gorder quipped.
After a brief break to set up fans, hand out water and sound check the room, Mayor Justus and the TLC crew were back in business.
It was announced that the village hall itself, located on Center Street, would be next to get a facelift.
Bill Thony asked for natural resources like bluestone and hardwoods be used in the restoration.
Right now, it has a lot of wood paneling, Gorder said. That was a 70s thing.
Then moving upstairs in the village hall, she said, Young people exist in every town and city. This is what keeps you alive. They need a safe, controllable, stimulating and fun place.
Lets put a teen center above the village hall, she said.
John Kavaller, who lives only three houses outside the village, said, Definitely need something for the kids to do.
He also warned the community that this new attraction will actually need a very coordinated supervision, possibly with the polices help, in controlling some of the influences from other areas.
Ann Brennan then volunteered her son, who is familiar with youth programs, to help set up the way the teen center will be supervised and run.
Young ones need ownership of the project, she said.
The villagers then elected a project manager to oversee the project.
Her name was