The following article by David Strange was originally published on 3 Jan 2016.
I wrote to you last week about the city of Hillview, one of eight cities in Bullitt County. Allow me to tell you this week about the nearby city of Pioneer Village.
Located on Preston Highway immediately south of Hillview, Pioneer Village is one of the county's relatively newer cities. It was formed partly for the same reason as the other cities in that area. Rapid growth generated by thousands of new jobs in nearby Jefferson County in the 1960's and 70's generated strong demand for affordable homes which in turn created several residential subdivisions. One of those subdivisions was Pioneer Village.
In a twist of irony common to several cities in the vicinity, Pioneer Village was formed mostly to prevent the subdivision from being annexed by Hillview. It became a city to avoid becoming part of another city. As you often see in the news, unwanted annexation and rezoning are still highly controversial issues in this day, causing much conflict. It was once even more of an issue, because cities or districts could annex with practically no recourse. Today such issues are still stacked against common resident/citizen opposition, but there is a bit more protection.
And so the new city of Pioneer Village, named after the subdivision in which it was formed, was incorporated on December 3, 1974, just a few months after Hillview was incorporated. Covering an area of just 3/4 of a square mile, the mostly bedroom community has grown from a population of just 390 in 1980 to nearly 3,000 today.
"Community" is a word I keep hearing about Pioneer Village. Gary Hatcher, who has served as mayor for 17 years, says that the size of Pioneer Village is just about right. He says, "It is large enough, but small enough to be personal."
In a small city such as Pioneer Village, public work is of necessity less formal than larger government. Mayor Hatcher says you "get it done however you can." For example, the mayor himself, since he has a grader truck, has voluntarily graded the streets in winter for years. Citizens labor together as needed to get work done.
With land size less than half that of Louisville's Appliance Park, at which many in this community have worked, this 4th class city has survived and prospered. I say "survived" mostly because of the devastating tornado of May, 1996, that swept through the city virtually leveling dozens of homes and heavily damaging many more. City finances have only recently recovered. In 2014, the city celebrated the retirement of a $300,000 loan that had been used mostly to clear debris from the storm ravaged town. Pioneer Village leaders are proud that they weathered the storm's aftermath and got the city back on its feet without raising taxes, giving much credit to residents who chipped in and helped wherever they could.
Community. Neighbors helping neighbors. That seems to be a large part of what Pioneer Village is about. Over time that philosophy has prospered the town. In 1987 the first city hall was built. Before that they had met in the garage of then mayor James Welker, as did the police court. Today, there is a proud little city hall building that serves both as the business heart of the city and as community-center. In June, 2015, the city bought 8 and a half acres of land next to the city hall with a dream to one day develop that land into a community park and activity area.
The police department has improved dramatically over the years, as well. Today, it's devoted police force, made up of one part-time and five full-time officers, puts together a "Santa's Helper" program and works diligently to continue good community relations. The Pioneer Village police force also provides protection to the nearby city of Hebron Estates, and readily cooperates with Hillview and other police forces.
In fact, cooperation is the name of the game with many small-town mayors of the area. Though the origins of some of the northern Bullitt cities were somewhat rooted in disagreement, today, Mayors throughout the county work together, meeting every other month to discuss issues and to advance good relations.
Recent dramatic road improvements to Preston Highway have brought renewed activity to that part of Pioneer Village, as has growth in the nearby Interstate 65 Brooks interchange.
With continued good community leadership, and just plain good community, I look for Pioneer Village to prosper for many years to come.
More information about Pioneer Village can be found at its city hall, or by visiting its informative web site at www.cityofpioneervillage.org.
Copyright 2016 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.