By Kyle Lovern
SOUTH WILLIAMSON, Ky. – The proposed incorporation of the South Williamson area of Pike County, Kentucky is being discussed again.
Several persons met informally last Monday to talk about the proposal and what benefits it might have for this part of Pike County.
At this point, there is no organized committee. However, several people who live in the communities in and around South Williamson and Forest Hills met for the first time to talk about the incorporation.
Bob Scott, a local businessman and longtime resident of the Tug Valley area, said the first meeting went well and that in his opinion, “The timing to incorporate is right. It’s time to come together and make this happen, assuming the people want to take the next step.”
“We understand that some people do not like change or do not want any better,” Scott stressed. “However, we must get in the game or simply sit on the sidelines and watch what happens around us.
Scott recalls how difficult it was for Pike County to get any help after the devastating 1977 flood.
“After the 1977 flood, if it had not been for Gov. Jay Rockefeller, the South Williamson community would not have received immediate help and clean-up effort,” Scott said.
“Let’s face it – assets will pass outside our borders as the baby boomers die off,” Scott added. “However, we must recapture a percentage of those assets now, and create opportunities and economic development for our young people who desire to stay in the area.”
Scott stressed that the proposed incorporation does not mean creating higher taxes or the sale of alcohol. It simply allows individuals to have more voice in their local government.
“I had the pleasure to grow up here when it was a more prosperous area,” Scott recalls. “Many times we fail to recognize the opportunities that exist in our own backyards.”
“Incorporating will promote growth in businesses and create advantages for tourism in both Pike and Mingo Counties,” Scott stated.
Others who were at the meeting include Belfry Coach Phillip Haywood, former Food City Manager Jack Blackburn, Belfry Fire Chief Nee Jackson, Ronnie Ferrell, Jim Kirk, James Slater and David West.
Haywood, who has now lived in the area for more than 30 years, commented on the proposed incorporation.
“As a community member for a few years now and seeing that our economy is not what it once was – I think this may be the time to develop a government entity,” Haywood said. “We could use some of the resources we have in our area. I think this would allow us to do that.”
“This is a positive thing for our community and we can build on the things we already have,” Haywood added.
Jack Blackburn, a longtime businessman in the South Williamson area said “he was 100 percent for it.”
“This area needs incorporated. I think it would also help the city of Williamson,” Blackburn added. “Why send our money to Pikeville, when we can keep it for ourselves?”
“We need to keep business here,” Blackburn stressed. “They have always said this was the backside of the county. But, it’s going to be up to the people whether his incorporation happens or not. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t be for it.”
“I have always heard some people make things happen, while others wonder what happened. I, for one, commit to making things happen that will benefit the people in our local area,” Scott concluded.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)