BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I'll call you Mayor this morning since we're going to talk about, uh--

HACKWORTH: All right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --your administration in Shelbyville and, uh--

HACKWORTH: That'll be fine.

BIRDWHISTELL: We had a, what I thought, was a very good session, now been a few months ago back in October--


BIRDWHISTELL: --talking about your life and career up to the time that, uh, that you become mayor, and we even got you into the mayor's office and literally fixed you up an office in City Hall that--(laughs)-- --- -------(??) there when you got there. That was fun. That was fun going back and, uh, and listening to, uh, and listening to that, but today we want to look at, uh, uh, the things that, uh, transpired during the time that you were mayor and the activities you were involved in and the initiatives you made and the, and, uh, and the inevitable problems and--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and challenges that came up. And I guess, uh, just to get us started, uh, thinking back on, uh, Shelbyville when you first entered office, uh, and you made an assessment of what, what you needed to do those first few years as mayor, um, what was your assessment of 1:00Shelbyville's needs at that point? What were the, thinking back on it, uh, uh, what did you see as some of your major challenges facing you?

HACKWORTH: You know, I think that Shelbyville was, and everybody knew Shelbyville was well-positioned from a, a standpoint of our, our having an interstate, being close to Louisville, having fairly reasonable access to Cincinnati, um, and reasonable access south into Lexington, uh, that, that we were well-positioned for economic growth. Um, at that time, though, in the early eighties, things weren't all that great economically--


HACKWORTH: --um, and we had had--not had a great number of plant locations or a whole lot of real positive stuff going on in the, in the community; and a few minor things but nothing, nothing major. Um, at 2:00the same time that was happening, we were beginning to see signs that our downtown businesses were no longer going to stay downtown.


HACKWORTH: Uh, we, at that time, still had a department store downtown. We still had two drugstores downtown.


HACKWORTH: We had, um, a number of business; two or three clothing stores downtown, a number of small restaurants, uh, downtown and those kinds of things. And, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Which sort of surprises me when, when you think of the close proximity to Louisville--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that the downtown had hung on that long--


BIRDWHISTELL: --because other towns had already saw an exodus of that type of business.

HACKWORTH: Right. And we, I think we were hurt, the first businesses, and, and amazingly enough we still have a couple of stores downtown that just, I think anybody would be (??), I mean, we have a, uh, an appliance and, and, uh, uh, furniture store downtown--


HACKWORTH: --still in Shelbyville and we have another, we have two appliance stores downtown, uh, and two furniture stores downtown. Uh, but, any rate, the, uh, but, but we had seen a great exodus in the 3:00number of, of businesses that were, we, well, we had not seen a great exodus, but we were see-, beginning to see little signs that they were hurting, and they were saying that. They were saying, Look we're, we're struggling to keep our doors open.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, was that--

HACKWORTH: We were beginning to hear that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was that because of the downturn in the economy during that period or just a combination?

HACKWORTH: I think it was a combination of both. I think it, you know, the, um, at that time, uh, uh, folks, obviously the major, uh, the Oxmoor Mall in Louisville had been built and, uh, I'm not sure the other mall had been built but it was may-, or maybe it had been started, but it wasn't--


HACKWORTH: --near as big as it is today. Um, but there was a lot of folks who obviously shopped in Louisville and always did. I mean, there were a lot of people who always did shop in Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, yeah. People would go to downtown Louisville for shopping.

HACKWORTH: I mean, you know, you went to Stewart's--


HACKWORTH: --or you went to Rodes, or you went downtown but--



HACKWORTH: -- but, uh, when I was a kid, but, but the business community was beginning to see an impact in, uh, in downtown. So that was a, that was a major focus, both at, during my first campaign, and, uh, there was a lot of discussion around that; uh, what needed to be done. And, and I remem-, I remember my very first, you know, debate. I think it was our first and only debate--(Birdwhistell laughs)--about, uh, uh, about the election, uh, with, uh, with the gentleman I ran against was, um, uh, a lot of questions and focus on that downtown issue. So, I think that was probably the primary focus. I think the economy generally in the city--


HACKWORTH: --uh, was a focus, um, and it wasn't that Shelbyville was doing badly compared to the rest of the country or--


HACKWORTH: --or certainly the rest of the parts of Kentucky--


HACKWORTH: --but it was just, you know, it wasn't seeing that continual growth that it had seen. And its growth was considerably slower than 5:00growth in Oldham County and Bullitt County, um, and also that was a time not, pretty close to after a lot of the, uh, bussing in, in Louisville begin, uh, began. And, um, it was past that time, but still at the same time there had been a great influx into our two neighbors, or not, Bullitt's not actually a neighbor, but it's close.

BIRDWHISTELL: But it's in the same--


BIRDWHISTELL: --relationship--

HACKWORTH: There had been a great, you know, mass exodus into those two counties, uh, of folks who were, who were primarily fleeing bussing, I suppose at the time, but, um, we didn't get much of that. We got some, but our zone, we, we had a county-wide zoning in place, and the way that was structured, it wasn't as easy to go out and build a subdivision out in nowhere--


HACKWORTH: --as it was in Bullitt and, and, and Oldham. And so, uh, we controlled our growth considerably more--


HACKWORTH: --which was a good thing, but at the same time it was, uh, it, it meant that where they got a lot of growth, uh, we got very li-, 6:00little growth, uh, in those early years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, it's interesting when you look at that ring around Louisville that the perception from somebody who's not in Louisville or that, you know, say from, a person from this distance is that you look at that and, and Oldham County seemed to grow rich--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that the people of wealth moved to Oldham County. The blue collar white flight moved to Bullitt County, and Shelbyville just sort of stayed. Shelby County just sort of held its own. It, it didn't, its image didn't change that much during this period--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and some people, I think, would argue that that's probably, as you just said, but not a bad thing in some ways.

HACKWORTH: Right. Um, I, I think that, uh, we saw it as a positive that we were, at that time, that we were able to maintain our identity, and I think we all wanted to do that at some level. I mean, I, we all, all our, you know, I, uh, business folks would say, We need to, you know, 7:00we need to create more market share--


HACKWORTH: --and we need a little growth here, and we need some things, and obviously people in the real estate business felt that way. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) They wanted to sell something, didn't they?

HACKWORTH: Uh, but, uh, and, and I think our goal was if we could create some industrial development, uh, some jobs of that sort, our hope was those folks would, would move into the community, and so we would have folks who work-, who were working and had, had, uh, you know, reasonably good jobs and that we would hopefully then be able to grow to sort of that and that our growth would be much slower but, uh, that it would be at some sort of a, a, a growth going on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Seems to me that, uh, communities like Shelbyville, I think of Paris and, um, Harrodsburg, places who have this sort of historical--


BIRDWHISTELL: --consciousness and com-, it's not a complacency, but it's a satisfaction with their communities, uh, didn't get as much caught 8:00up into the, to this economic development, roads through the middle of town type of things as the other places, which that, is that a fair assessment that you would put Shelbyville in sort of that kind of group?

HACKWORTH: Well, and I think that's why when the airport was supposed to be located in Shelby County--

BIRDWHISTELL: Pretty good (??) example. Yeah.

HACKWORTH: --although there, there was a mix, I think we may have discussed that earlier, but there was a, certainly a mixed feeling about how that should go forward, um, with the number of people who thought that was the grandest thing that could ever happen-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--uh, uh, because there was going to be a whole lot of jobs and a whole lot more--

BIRDWHISTELL: Whole lot of jobs.

HACKWORTH: --but I think the majority of us were kind of, Oh, I don't know what that's really going to mean. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, will that mean that we're going to look like pretty much the eastern half of Jefferson County--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and not really look like what we look like today? And I think there's still a lot of fear about that in--



HACKWORTH: --in how we go forward, but at that time, I think our biggest concern was trying to, to, to, like so many cities in Kentucky, I mean, obviously as I learned as I traveled around and began to know other mayors, uh, it was just a commonplace situation; that business was leaving downtowns.


HACKWORTH: And the economy was slow, and everybody was worried about job and, jobs and economic growth. I think one of the things that I was really looking at is a way to, to, to find, I was hopeful that we could find a way to make our economic growth not just, just jobs by account. You know, we, we added, you know, a thousand jobs or whatever--


HACKWORTH: --but meaningful well-paying jobs--


HACKWORTH: --is what I was really hopeful we would--


HACKWORTH: --focus on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Sort of the, uh, Bill Bishop approach that, uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: --in terms of not just jobs but--

HACKWORTH: Right. Well, this is a little bit ahead of that curve of when people were thinking in terms of obviously there was, there was no, uh, new economy; at least we didn't know there was at that time.



HACKWORTH: Uh, we all thought we had to have our big manufacturing plants in order to be successful--


HACKWORTH: --but, uh, uh, it was at least a hope that those jobs would be better paying than some of them that we already had in our economy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, uh, talking about the type of change that an airport relocation into Shelby County would have brought, uh, at the time you become mayor, uh, the, uh, uh, discussion over the, uh, GM Saturn plant was, uh, heating up, right?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And I, that came on fairly early on, uh, and it was, uh, it really, I think, was a real positive for us because, to be honest, we never talked to anybody--(Birdwhistell laughs)--at GM. Uh, I know state government had conversations, and I know we were a, on the short list.


HACKWORTH: Uh, we were told that by folks who supposedly know these 11:00things, um, but I would say the mood in our s-, our mood was a little bit like the airport. We weren't convinced this was the best thing for Shelby County--


HACKWORTH: --but it was kind of like, how do you play this?


HACKWORTH: (laughs) You know, we could have stood up and said, Uh, we really don't want this plant, and it would have probably put us on everybody's not, don't-bother-list and so we got, I didn't think that was an option. So the way we played it was that, well, this is the best opportunity we're ever going to have to advertise Shelbyville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. (Hackworth laughs) National exposure.

HACKWORTH: National exposure--

BIRDWHISTELL: Almost international.

HACKWORTH: International exposure. Uh, we had folks from California to New York calling wanting comments or statements, um, and it was an 12:00opportunity to say what was, what was really good about our community. And so that's what I used it as a way to advertise our community, and'--

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you tell them?

HACKWORTH: I told them that Shelbyville was a great place--(laughs)--to live; that, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: A great place to raise your family.

HACKWORTH: --we could understand a lot of people would, would be interested--(Birdwhistell laughs)--in it and, uh, certainly, uh, uh, you know, it was a, a, a community that had all the, it had the history and it had, uh, it had, uh, a great work ethic among its people. And, uh, so I guess my hope was that I was, that I was actually speaking to the next company that might want to come down--


HACKWORTH: --and, and I really didn't think we would, would, I really felt like that I would be having more direct conversations with General Motors or with somebody from the state government if this thing really was going to land. That, that was really my honest--


HACKWORTH: --appraisal just from where I was--


HACKWORTH: --so I really didn't think it would come to Shelbyville and 13:00was not at all surprised when it went to Tennessee.

BIRDWHISTELL: So there wasn't any land speculation? You didn't know of a tract of land that might be look--

HACKWORTH: Well, there was some discussion about some tracts of land, but I don't think it was being, there was just not all the signs you would think would be in place.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just not all the pieces were in place?

HACKWORTH: There were some pieces missing in my mind--


HACKWORTH: --that said, I don't think they're coming here--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and, but I'm sure as heck not going to miss this opportunity to speak about the value of my community and--


HACKWORTH: --and the place that it is and hope that that would mean something good down the road. I was hoping it wouldn't be another GM plant. I was hoping it would be something a little smaller, and, and in fact, it wasn't too long after that, uh, of course, the economy was on an upswing. Things were much better, and the, the, that the Budd Company began to look at our community and, uh, uh, B-u-d-d--the--


HACKWORTH: --uh, the automobile company, and that, uh, um, basically 14:00made parts for automobiles and, and things for automobiles. Well, we were, that became an attractive opportunity because they were talking about, at that time, I think four hundred jobs and jobs that would pay significantly higher than what we were used to in our local economy.

BIRDWHISTELL: I thought the Budd plant was interesting, too, because the way it was situated near the interstate. You can see it for miles.


BIRDWHISTELL: And it transformed the Shelby County exits in that you used to drive by Shelbyville, both exits; had two exits on a major interstate, but yet, nothing seemed to be going on.


BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, it was, you had to drive downtown to get to the McDonalds--(laughs)--you know, which always seemed so weird to me--


BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--and nothing, I mean, those two strips between the city and the interstate just stayed undeveloped for the longest time.

HACKWORTH: Uh, and they, one of the exits did rema-, I mean, still remained undeveloped for a long, long time, and it's just now really 15:00gotten developed.



BIRDWHISTELL: But the Budd plant made, when you drove down I-64 after that was built, it ma-, it gave you the sense that something was happening--

HACKWORTH: Something was happening in this town. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And so it was a billb-, almost a billboard.

HACKWORTH: It was a billboard, and, in fact, they put on their, uh, building the Shelbyville, put Shelbyville on the, on the plant, beside the plant, which was, was nice. We--


HACKWORTH: --that was kind of a way for them to advertise our community--


HACKWORTH: --that you'd arrived in Shelbyville when you got there. Although it wasn't actually in the city limits. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Now, that's a, we talked last time about, uh, uh, Bobby Stratton, the county judge, your relationship--


BIRDWHISTELL: --with him, and you, you said something really funny. You, you said he always said you all agreed, and what that meant was if you went and (??) agreed with him he said that we agreed.

HACKWORTH: (laughs) That's right. ----------(??) the way it worked.

BIRDWHISTELL: But, uh, uh, I was just out in, you know, the waiting room reading, a, a national magazine about the city of Louisville and Jefferson County merger--

HACKWORTH: Um-hm. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and, uh, it just, you know, begs the question all 16:00the time, you know, a place like Shelbyville and Shelby County if it had you or Judge Stratton running the whole thing, this industrial development, of course you had the zoning in place--


BIRDWHISTELL: --which helped tremendously, but everything would have been a little less complicated with one government, right? [telephone rings.] (laughs)

HACKWORTH: Obviously my effort to keep the phone calls--(Birdwhistell laughs)--out didn't work. I guess people can call me.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's the problem (??).

HACKWORTH: Um, we'll let that--


HACKWORTH: --pass, and then we'll answer. Um, I, I think my view of that, and I know there's a lot of sentiment for, in Shelbyville and, and, and a number of other places in our state for that at this time, and, or was back then actually. Um, my view is that I think it's real important that we maintain the identity of these cities in our state. I'm not suggesting they, we can't find ways to combine services or 17:00in some cases maybe even merge governments, um, but there are distinct county functions that need to be served. Um, you know, we need to be sure our court system and our record systems and all those systems remain in place and somebody's doing those jobs, and those are really state functions--


HACKWORTH: --that are handled at the local level by county government. What I think is unfortunate is that county governments, you know, I, I, and I'm certain it's in an effort to capture tax dollars--(laughs)- -quite honestly, because they feel like they have more responsibility, uh, and it's kind of like they create this problem for themselves. They, they, they don't allow annexation or the, or the state has laws that make it difficult to annex.


HACKWORTH: Um, they make it difficult for, uh, us to grow our cities and, um, so what I think happens is that, that they then end up with 18:00saying, Well, we need to provide more police services, uh, we need to provide more fire services. We need to provide, uh, more water and sewer services, and all these various services that are really urban services.


HACKWORTH: And so regrettably, we've pushed the need for urban services outside our city boundaries because we haven't allowed our city boundaries to grow. And I think had we allowed city boundaries to grow and tried to contain growth a little bit better, quite honestly, in many of our communities, and mine being one, um, that the reality would have been you wouldn't be dealing with this merger issue, you'd be dealing with the fact that you've got a, a strong county that has adequate resources. Uh, there should be some way to be certain they do have those adequate resources, uh, and you've got a strong city that's, that's got significant resources to do the things that, that need to be done in the urban setting. So--


HACKWORTH: --I think part of my view is that we've lost sight of what cities are about and what counties are about, and counties now want to 19:00be cities--


HACKWORTH: --and so now they want to merge. And so really I think the merger is coming more from the county's perspective--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it really?

HACKWORTH: --and, and the businesses see this as, Well, you know, I've got to get a, a permit here and a permit there. Well, a lot of those needs for extra permitting is because they're building outside of cities--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and if they'd allowed cities to annex they'd be going to city government for those permits and not to county for those permits and we wouldn't have this duplicity. So a lot of the duplicity's caused by our antiquated annexation laws that never really addressed the need for cities to grow in this state, and so we have large cities compared to some other places in this, in, in the world, uh, in this country, uh, but they're not seen as large because the population centers are outside the city; much of the population growth's outside of the city. So you can go to Paducah and it looks like it's shrinking. You can go to, to cities all over the state, and it looks like they're shrinking because--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, Louisville is shrinking.

HACKWORTH: Well, and Louisville is a grand example--



HACKWORTH: --but the rea-, but then you, you know, you, you annex the unincorporated areas, and, or essentially that's what you did.


HACKWORTH: You merged them.


HACKWORTH: And now all of a sudden it's, uh, it's the sixteenth largest city in the, in the, in the country. (Birdwhistell laughs) Well, it doesn't look to me--(Birdwhistell laughs)--like the sixteenth largest city in the country. I mean, I've been to some of those other cities. They, they look bigger, but the, the reality is, is it is because, because there was that much population base that was allowed to grow outside the city limits. And that's one of the, that's one of the sad things I see in this state is that we have failed to recognize the importance of cities, and, you know, obviously I work for cities and I think they're important.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, that's an, I've not heard that, uh, view of, before. That, uh, that makes a lot of sense to me that, uh--

HACKWORTH: So I'm not opposed to merger. I just think, I think we made more of that, I think in Louisville it made sense. I mean, obviously it was--(laughs)--it was a, I mean, you know, there were, there are a few rural areas of, of Jefferson County remaining but not many.


HACKWORTH: Uh, but you go to my county and it's still mostly 21:00agricultural land.


HACKWORTH: It's not urban, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: So a city has to--

HACKWORTH: Bagdad really doesn't care about being part of Shelbyville. (Birdwhistell laughs) I just, I'm going to tell you. They do not care about that at all.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you'd probably say Stamping Ground doesn't care about being a part of Georgetown?

HACKWORTH: I would suspect that's very much the case. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) When they look at this issue over there, there's--

HACKWORTH: Absolutely.

BIRDWHISTELL: --there's that, uh ----------(??)--

HACKWORTH: --and, and I think that's part of your problem, uh, is that even though they're not incorporated cities, those little communities see themselves independent and really don't want to be, um, absorbed into the mother lode city of the, of the county. Um, and yet there's a need for some city services out there, so now we've come to the need of how do we deliver those services and that's where merger discussion comes up. I think there are other ways those services can be delivered.


HACKWORTH: I think you can contract with cities. I think you can, uh, you can come up with revenue sharing ways that would enable services to 22:00be delivered. I think we, we think that the only way we can solve this problem is to merge, and the business community looks at it that way. We need to be pushing pressure at the county level to deal with cities and to use their existing administration and services so you have one police chief and not two and you have one fire chief--


HACKWORTH: --and not five like in my county--


HACKWORTH: --um, in order to maybe deliver some of those services.

BIRDWHISTELL: But if you take your, uh, argument on out, uh, it seems to me you get to the point where counties want to be like cities. Well, why couldn't the county government be like a city government and that would make the city government irrelevant if, in fact, the county government took on those responsibilities and actually, uh, did a good job of serving both their more urban--

HACKWORTH: Well, I guess it's always hard to serve two masters, and, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you think the tension between--

HACKWORTH: I think counties have a responsibility to deliver state services, and state, their state government to some degree is their 23:00master. It says you need to do these things, and I think they tend to put that first because state's the big dog here rather than downtown development--


HACKWORTH: --or the issues related to business development, or all the issues that are more ur-, housing. Rarely do you hear county governments talk about, We need to do something about housing. (Birdwhistell laughs) Rarely--(laughs)--do you hear county governments talk about the need to deal with, uh, uh, with this, these downtown economic development issues, and that's not to say some counties don't work with their cities on them. I'm just saying it's not, it, to them it's a peripheral issue. To the city it's, maybe one of the primary issues--


HACKWORTH: --and, and I guess I'm just don't want to lose focus, or see our state lose focus, of how cities can play a vital role. And quite honestly I hope that we don't end up losing all of our open spaces and 24:00that we don't become one big city.


HACKWORTH: Personally, I'd like to see cities be, there to be Shelbyvilles and Taylorsvilles and places like that left in this state--


HACKWORTH: --that, uh, reflect, uh, uh, that, that are able to, to provide something that maybe a Louisville can't provide.


HACKWORTH: It's, it's a different, it, it, it's, it balances out those, those bigger places.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. You know, it might not be during our lifetime, but it almost seems inevitable that as Louisville grows, Louisville and Jefferson County grow towards Shelby County and Shelbyville, uh, it'll become like those communities, if you've ever been around the northern loop of, of Indianapolis or Columbus--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and you get off. Oftentimes, you find yourself in a little Shelbyville--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that's been eaten--


BIRDWHISTELL: --by the loop, and, I mean, there's some beautiful old communities north of Indianapolis and Columbus that have, you don't 25:00even know are there anymore--


BIRDWHISTELL: --because they've been absorbed. And they're about the same distance from downtown as Shelbyville is from Louisville.

HACKWORTH: That's exactly right.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so you just wonder down the road, you know, what, what, what--

HACKWORTH: If there is any advantage to us having 120 counties, it's that--(both laugh)--that it's difficult for that, that absorption to, to, to get out as far--


HACKWORTH: --'cause if, if Shelby County had been, had not had its own government, it would have probably looked more like Oldham County--


HACKWORTH: --as it relates to, to Jefferson County.

BIRDWHISTELL: And with Indiana and the river on the north, it pushes the development further south.

HACKWORTH: Yeah. It does, it does; although I think Louisville's recognizing the need to work with Indiana and figure out a way to, to help their growth and that that doesn't necessarily hurt--



BIRDWHISTELL: Well, if they can ever build a bridge across the Ohio River--

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And I'm hoping I live long enough to see it.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) I'm wondering sometimes, if I will.

HACKWORTH: Well, I think it's going to happen, but I'm, I'm hoping I can 26:00be around when it does.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) It shows the power of money. That bridge would already be there if they didn't have to go through those rich neighborhoods.

HACKWORTH: Well--(Birdwhistell laughs)--no comment.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) At least that's my perception of it.

HACKWORTH: Yeah, well--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, you talk, uh, uh, in this, uh, outline you did of your administration of, of the Midland development inside the city limits.


BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about that.

HACKWORTH: Well, and that was an interesting development. That was where the Walmart came in. So, and it was coming in. It was a question of whether I was able to get it in the city or not.


HACKWORTH: And, um--

BIRDWHISTELL: Do Walmarts want to be in the city or do they care or--

HACKWORTH: I think they like being in the city, but I don't know if they actually care. It isn't in the city now in my town, so I, I think they would have liked to have been in the city, but for other reasons. But at that time, I think their strategy was to build on the outskirts of the town, and, and, uh, uh, and so we had a developer who put the 27:00shopping center in place, and it had a, uh, uh, a grocery store and a, and a Walmart. So it, and that was pre-Walmart in the grocery business.

BIRDWHISTELL: Super center. Yeah.

HACKWORTH: Um, and, uh, so a number of other little businesses that were attracted out there, and that also was part of a larger, uh, industrial development that was behind the shopping center and some residential development in that as well. And, uh, the, uh, industrial development was the part that I kind of eyed as an opportunity for us to, all the industrial development to that point, other than the few scattered sites really, almost in downtown, you know, just outside, just almost downtown, um, had been on the interstate and were out of the, out of the town, out of the city limits, and, and so all the tax revenues were, potential tax revenues for those places, went somewhere else; uh, 28:00not into city coffers. And I felt like we needed to get some recurring revenues or we were going to be in trouble--


HACKWORTH: --'cause we were developing industry, getting new people to move in, uh, folks who were moving in weren't necessarily, uh, making large dollars, uh, the Budd Company was somewhat of an exception, uh, and they, uh, I felt we needed to have some industrial base in the city. So I've helped support that process, and we were able to get that zoned and get it done in the way it needed to be done for that to happen.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it hard to do?

HACKWORTH: Uh, the developer actually saw some benefit to being in the city 'cause they knew there was a, somewhat of a tension between, uh, the city and the Industrial Foundation over the fact that the Industrial Foundation never seemed to want to locate any business in the city and, um--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and had a lot of space outside 29:00the city to develop and therefore had very little interest in it. They wanted to sell their own land, of course, and I understood that and, and certainly supported their development, but I would have liked to have seen some interest in that. So, it was rather unique to have a private developer with industrial property that was being developed, uh, in a small community like ours somewhat in competition with the, with the non-profit Industrial Foundation.

BIRDWHISTELL: Interesting.

HACKWORTH: And, uh, we, uh, so we got it annexed. We got it in, got it zoned, uh, and, uh, it, uh, it took a little while obviously to get some interest. But we had the, the advantage of the, uh, uh, um, CSX, is it CSX or LMN? I forget, I forget which one's which side now. Uh, they've changed na-, all changed names.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. It's hard to keep up with.


HACKWORTH: But, any rate, we had, we had competing railroads, and that's sort of what helped us--


HACKWORTH: --'cause we had a railroad who was interested in developing that industrial track. So the railroad worked as hard as the Industrial Foundation to look for candidates to move into that development.

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know that I've ever heard that before from the, from a mayor that, that the railroad was helping the industrial development.


BIRDWHISTELL: Is that unusual?

HACKWORTH: Well, it was unusual for the railroad to do anything positive 'cause no-, normally we were fighting them over railroad crossings and trying to get them better and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Quit stopping the trains on the, on the--

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And just stuff like that, you know--(Birdwhistell laughs)--uh, trying to get them to slow down and all those things, so we were, but, but at the economic--(laughs)--development level they were actually very helpful.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting. I never have heard that before.

HACKWORTH: Uh, and were, we, uh, the very first company that moved in there, uh, was called the Murphy Company, Murphy Industries, and they've since sold. They actually, they went bankrupt and sold, but 31:00the company's still, there's a business still there that does, I think, a similar process. But it was, uh, it has transitioned, uh, and we actually got, uh, CDBG money to, uh, help get that located there. So the state actually participated in it. Uh, and it was the first industry there. Uh, it also created a downtown loan pool, which helped me.


HACKWORTH: --because I, uh, uh, the payback on that CDBG we were able to use as a loan pool, which you can'-, I don't think you can do that anymore, but we could then. So there were a lot of positives out of that, that one development, uh, for the city. Uh, we got that done. Uh, then, then ultimately a Japanese, uh, uh, company came along, uh, Ichikoh--


HACKWORTH: I believe was the first one.


HACKWORTH: --and, um, they, uh, they located in there, and then ultimately we got another Japanese, Katayama. And, uh, a Swiss company moved a plant in there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Isn't that interesting.

HACKWORTH: --so we, we had a very, very, um, uh, international 32:00industrial plant over there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you know, I was going to ask you, and that makes it even more interesting to ask you, uh, uh, when these companies locate to Shelbyville and Shelby County, did their top executives or the top people in, in the operation who were actually on site, did they live in Shelbyville and Shelby County or did they live in Louisville?

HACKWORTH: Our history had been otherwise, and that was another thing, that was another thing that, that disturbed me some about the way we recruited industry.

BIRDWHISTELL: What do you mean?

HACKWORTH: Well, we didn't ask that their top people live in town--


HACKWORTH: --and most of the industry that I saw there were folks who had moved their company from Louisville up there because it was cheaper land and cheaper labor.


HACKWORTH: And, and so they were living in Anchorage. (Birdwhistell laughs) Liter-, literally, most of our plant managers lived in Anchorage--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's--

HACKWORTH: --or they lived in some community similar to Anchorage--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Anchorage.

HACKWORTH: --um, or they were one of the rich people out in Riverfield 33:00that didn't want, that don't want a bridge. (Birdwhistell laughs) But at any rate, the, uh, uh, there was, they, you know, those folks really weren't, they were, they were good community people. Now don't get me wrong--


HACKWORTH: --and, and they were nice people. They were great people--


HACKWORTH: --but they weren't really tied to the community.

BIRDWHISTELL: But they didn't live in Shelbyville--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and their children didn't go to school there.

HACKWORTH: And their children didn't go to school there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Which makes a big difference.

HACKWORTH: And their, now obviously, a lot of the people in the business' children went to our schools, and some of the management at lower than the owners--


HACKWORTH: --did. And, I mean, there was, there was some synergy there. Don't get me wrong, but it was just, it wasn't what it could have been had we had, and I understand, you know, you get what you can get. You know, you don't have, it just would have been nice if we had, had encouraged them to move into our community and, and be a part of our community. Um, the Budd Company did that.



HACKWORTH: They moved almost all their top executives and, into our, into the city.

BIRDWHISTELL: Isn't that interesting. Did they, was there housing available for that type of, uh--

HACKWORTH: Well, it, it, that's what drove pricing up--


HACKWORTH: --because what happened was is these guys were coming from Michigan and Pennsylvania and, um, even a few from maybe the Northeast, but they were coming from places where housing prices were considerably higher--


HACKWORTH: --than in Shelbyville. Uh, you could buy a whole lot of house--(Birdwhistell laughs)--for what they were selling their houses for, and, of course, they didn't want to pay taxes on this and that was before they had made these tax laws more lenient.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Yeah. They had that money.

HACKWORTH: So you almost had to go back and buy same priced house. So these guys were scrambling looking for big, expensive houses--(both laugh)--and were offering more than the houses were worth--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and it began to drive the price of housing up and they began building. And we had a subdivision that kind of was supposed to be 35:00a high-end subdivision that kind of sat around for a while. It was beginning to get a little more development because the economy had improved some by that time, but, um, when, uh, when the Budd Company came in they started building big houses in this subdivision and it, it, it did make a difference. But it was a positive, that was a positive for us that they, they located their executives. They went, their children, uh, started going to our schools.


HACKWORTH: They were, they became part of the community. Now that's changing a little bit now, but, and you're seeing some difference in that now, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: In the differences that people, more people are living there or--

HACKWORTH: Uh, I think you're seeing, like, some of the Budd, uh, Budd, you're seeing some of the Budd people now who may have moved to the outskirts of Louisville and Jeff-, into Louisville now, what is Louisville now--


HACKWORTH: --uh, but, you know, into west, I guess it would be, uh, east Louisville now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Because Shelbyville and Shelby County, uh, to my 36:00knowledge, still don't have a private school, right? There's no--

HACKWORTH: Well, there's a, a private, there's a catholic school started now in Simpsonville--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, and there's a Christian school, uh, out on the east side of, uh, the county--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, there are?



HACKWORTH: --near, uh, cal-, what's called Clay Village. But--


HACKWORTH: --but there's, uh, other than those two schools, there's no, there's no other private schools--


HACKWORTH: --and the catholic school's just getting started so it's, hadn't, hasn't matured yet. I'll put it that way.

BIRDWHISTELL: But that's a, that's an ongoing transition. You know, we saw the transition from, say, Shelbyville to Shelby County, the merger--


BIRDWHISTELL: --or the consolidation of the schools, and now even in the smaller cities you're seeing the movement toward Christian academies and private schools. And that's going to change the school system over time.

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And it, the concern obviously for the public system is it takes the better students out of, out of the public system and, and therefore weakens the public system, and so you've got a public 37:00system that gets weakened and yet it's still supposed to raise its test scores--


HACKWORTH: --and still supposed to be, you know, do all these wonderful things, and I--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. It makes it hard for the public schools to beat the private schools in basketball, too.

HACKWORTH: Uh, it could. (Birdwhistell laughs) It could. It could.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) When that happens in Shelby County, then we'll know the war is on.

HACKWORTH: Yeah. We'll be right back to the wars between Shelbyville and Shelby County.

BIRDWHISTELL: The, uh, you've, you've also written that, uh, um, with this industrial development in the county, uh, that it obviously put pressure, and you just said that a minute ago, too, it put pressure on your city services.

HACKWORTH: Absolutely.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now tell me how that, how does that put pressure on your city services?

HACKWORTH: Well, in a number of ways. Um, even if these people who work in these plants don't live in your city, uh, they are coming and going out of your city, and, and when the plants, you know, you don't have to, uh, ask when the plants are changing their shifts.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know it.

HACKWORTH: You know it. (Birdwhistell laughs) Let's put it that way. And so the traffic, you've got accidents; you've got all kinds of 38:00issues that come up, uh, with, with traffic obviously--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, uh, wear and tear on streets and roads. A lot of them are state roads, but, but they're coming in and out of your city and you're having to deal with the traffic issues. Uh, that's, that's one. A lot of people do move into your city, and because they're not, not in management, they're not buying the five acre tracts in, uh, in west Shelby County that, and building the, you know, the million dollar homes. They're, they're, and they're not, certainly not doing that in Shelbyville, they're buying, you know, as, as reasonably priced a home as they can find, uh, and, uh, uh, and there is not an overabundance of that priced housing now. I mean, they keep trying to build as much as they can--


HACKWORTH: --but, um, and so those folks have issues. I mean, you know, they have domestic issues. They have issues with their children. 39:00They have all kinds of issues, and you have, you have to, as a city, deal with them. Um, you have, uh, uh, a number of, of other just recreational issues; all sort of peripheral issues that come along with growth and development and, and all that, and concentration of people.


HACKWORTH: And, so without an adequate tax base to support that which is the unfortunate problem with, again, as I said, our annexation laws, it doesn't allow us to annex industrial property very easily, uh, you end up having to pay the, figure out how to deal with that without necessarily having the resources to do that. So it, it, um, that, that's the primary problems I think you run into. Uh, obviously your utility services, I mean, if you're in the utility business, which we were in the water and sewer business, there's a lot of pressure on that and, uh, a lot of needs that, that, that are, require expansions and 40:00things of that nature.

BIRDWHISTELL: And at the same time that was happening, you were losing the dollars from rev-, from federal revenue sharing?

HACKWORTH: Oh, we, yeah. We, uh, uh, they just, they squeezed, decided we didn't need that money anymore and cut us off--(Birdwhistell laughs)--kind of like what's going on in state government today.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's, it sounds very familiar. I mean, the cities are having a hard time right now, aren't they, in a lot of ways?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. This is sort of a recycle of the, that time when you, uh, just beginning to see, uh, you know, we, we've come off of a fairly significant economic upturn and now, uh, cities have been able to be okay for the last year or so because of the, you know, kind of just holding on with what they were able to gain out of that. But now it's, I'd say unless this thing changes fairly quickly, you're going to start seeing some significant problems with service delivery at the local level.

BIRDWHISTELL: And there will be a mayor out there that says, "Neil, you won't believe what I'm having--" and you'll say, "Yeah, I do believe it because I had to do it." (laughs)


HACKWORTH: Yeah. Well, I tell the, uh, story about federal revenue sharing quite often and, uh, even in testimony for state government, uh, committees and, and others, uh, to make the point that cities try to respond, but they're limited in the ways they can respond. And, and, and the heat is taken locally. It's not taken in Frankfort or the federal government.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So you're sitting there in the mayor's office. Your costs are going up, your revenues down. You have to do something. How do you come to the, how do you come to the decision of what to do? How, kind of walk me through that and who did you consult with? How do you go about making the decision to figure out a way to increase your revenue?

HACKWORTH: Well, first of all, because cities have such limited op-, options, uh, it really became down to two options for us if we wanted to raise our revenues. Um, one would have been to increase our insurance premium tax which is not as, it's certainly well-below, it's, 42:00it's at the average or well-below average for cities across the state.


HACKWORTH: It's at, at five percent. Um, and there are some that are up even over ten, but, but we, we really felt like that wasn't necessarily the way to go--(clears throat)--

BIRDWHISTELL: Just a second.

[Pause in recording.]

HACKWORTH: The, the one tax that a few cities in Kentucky had, not very many at that time, um, was the occupational tax.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did mainly the larger cities have that?

HACKWORTH: Larger cities had it and a few smaller cities. Versailles was one that at that time had, had, had the occupational tax. So we went and got a copy of their ordinance and talked to some people in Versailles about it. ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: But Versailles had gotten those factories on the bypass--


BIRDWHISTELL: --in the city, hadn't they?

HACKWORTH: And they were in the city.

BIRDWHISTELL: So they were just--

HACKWORTH: They were--

BIRDWHISTELL: --rolling in money.

HACKWORTH: --they were, they were beaucoup. They were doing well. Everything was great for them. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, they were, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: The sun just shines a little brighter in Woodford County.


HACKWORTH: Yeah. I mean, Versailles was, was, uh,--(Birdwhistell laughs)--it was unbelievable how much money they, we thought they were money. I mean, of course, you know, we didn't have any kind of revenue source like that. Um, I mean, my budget was pretty scrawny compared to theirs. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, so we thought that, that, that made sense, but the other thing we liked about it was it, it did, it, it, you know, we anticipated--(laughs)--some growth and we felt that that would sort of, sort of be a way to, uh, deal with growth. And the people paying it are the people working there that were causing-- (laughs)--causing our issues as it related--


HACKWORTH: --to, to, to what was going on. So it seemed like a fair tax to us; I mean, even though I realize there were a lot of nonresidents paying it, it seemed like a fair way to, to, uh, tax. But there were a lot of residents paying it, too. I mean, I, a lot of people lose sight of that, they, they say, Oh, it should be an easy tax to impose 'cause you're taxing people that don't live in your town.



HACKWORTH: Well, in Shelbyville a whole lot of those people lived in my town, and, and a whole lot of people were pretty angry. Uh, so it was not an easy tax to impose. We, uh, uh, we started having public discussion about it fairly early on explaining our concerns, and primarily the biggest concern being the loss of revenue sharing. I mean, immediately, we were going to have well over a hundred thousand dollars taken out, out of our budget.

BIRDWHISTELL: A hundred thousand.

HACKWORTH: It was, like, a hundred and twenty-five, a hundred and forty. I can't remember the exact numbers. It, it may have even been cut back a little bit be-, before they actually took it all away, but, um, we had a budget at that time under a million dollars. So, I mean, it was a significant blow.


HACKWORTH: I mean, by the time I left, our budget was well ov-, was well over two or three million dollars or maybe four million. I can't remember exactly, but, uh, so there was a lot of growth in our community obviously. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, just in numbers of population.

HACKWORTH: Oh, yeah.


BIRDWHISTELL: During the time you were mayor.


BIRDWHISTELL: It really takes off.

HACKWORTH: Yeah. It was, it's significant. I mean, you can see the numbers almost doubled in size--


HACKWORTH: --since, so, um, but in any event, we, uh, uh, when we put it in place, uh, one of the arguments is that it was going to make too much money. One percent was too high. Why not start at a half, and we'll work it up?


HACKWORTH: Well, I, I had, uh, a, a fellow that doe-, did some work for us, uh, at the League, uh, talk-, talked about how there's councils that like to cut off the dog's tail an inch at a time and it's certainly a whole lot better to cut it all off at once--(Birdwhistell laughs)--because you're going to go through that, that dog goes through the same amount of pain every time you cut off that inch.


HACKWORTH: Well, we didn't want to set it so high that we were going to make this enormous amount of money, and we didn't want to set it so low that it wouldn't recoup what our losses were going to be--


HACKWORTH: --and we also had needs that were unaddressed in our, with 46:00our current budget structure because we really hadn't had very strong revenue fixture. It was, you know, it grew a little bit every year but very little. So we were looking for a source that would give us some growth, would give us a little extra money so we would have the capacity to, um, do some things that we thought needed to be done, uh, in the short term and would have the growth hopefully to deal with things in the long term. And so when we did, and, and, and it was problematic for several reasons; one, because we were a, from a standpoint of where the money was coming from, there were a whole lot of businesses outside of that area that, that weren't going to be subject to this tax.


HACKWORTH: So that it was, put some of our businesses at a slight competitive disadvantage.


HACKWORTH: Um, it meant that emp-, employees might prefer to work there than here, be-, uh, to some extent, so that wa-, that was problematic. Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's funny how much people think about that. Like, I can't tell you how many people say, you know, Yeah. I want to go to 47:00Texas 'cause they don't have a state income tax.

HACKWORTH: Um-hm. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, it, it's not--


BIRDWHISTELL: --it's not like a make or break thing--


BIRDWHISTELL: --but it's one of those things that just aggravates me.

HACKWORTH: Right. It sure does, and, uh, so we, we worried about all of that. But, it was like, you know, What are we going to do? We've got to do something. So we, we imposed the tax, and, uh, it was, uh, politically, uh, we got a lot of pressure from the Chamber and from some other people. Uh, there was a lot of people, I think the ones that was most bothersome for me were, there were two groups that were most bothersome for me. One was those folks who basically make minimum wage--


HACKWORTH: --'cause unless they had their pay increase slightly, they were going to lose money and they couldn't afford to lose money--


HACKWORTH: --uh, but there was no way for us to really exempt them because if we did it would just kind of destroy the whole process.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. You couldn't make it, like, an income tax where it's progressive, you know, you--

HACKWORTH: Right. You know, well, we, we can't make it an income tax technically because it's, because it's, uh, would violate, then it 48:00would violate the constitution.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. ----------(??)----------

HACKWORTH: So it had to be this sort of business license tax and people who work there pay one percent. We, uh, we debated exempting, uh, several folks, but in the end we felt like we should be inclusive and we, our hope was that folks would try to compensate those folks a little bit more. Um, and we worried about them, although I will say those folks are where a lot of your money's spent. So in, in a sense, they were going to help pay for themselves a little bit, too--


HACKWORTH: --so it was bothersome but, but, uh, we just thought we had to, to leave it that way. I think the other part that was bothersome was the teachers because we had a lot of teachers who were, who obviously weren't overpaid, uh, but teachers who worked in the, out, a lot of our schools were outside the, because it was a merged system, outside the city. And so there were going to be a lot of teachers that had to pay this tax that, uh, when other teachers who are, you know, 49:00basically right down the road weren't going to have to pay the tax. So that was bothersome.


HACKWORTH: Uh, there were probably a few other situations like that, but for the most part, it seemed like the fairest and, and, and best tax to impose, given our options.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, politically, how do you make it happen?

HACKWORTH: Well, I had to get, convince the council that, that, you know, you come up with another op-, op-, op-, idea and I'll be glad to listen to it, and they sort of lined up fairly quickly that we needed to do this.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, they did?

HACKWORTH: Because--

BIRDWHISTELL: All, all five of them?

HACKWORTH: Actually almost all six of them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Six of them.

HACKWORTH: It was a very interesting, and I, I, I, uh, one of the things that happened is I went, I remember going on the radio. And the thing we were trying to explain to our, to the public, and we, I went on the radio and on a call-in show to talk about this--


HACKWORTH: --and we did a public, uh, some other things, uh, but I went on this and talked about it and, and explained that we were concerned 50:00about this and this was something we were considering and, and, and all that. Um, and, uh, one of the people that went on to talk about that was also one of the people that, to talk with me and, and explain why we needed this revenue and explain why it was important and explain all of that and went through the whole thing with me, was later the guy that voted against it. (both laugh.) So I guess that goes to show you that if you lobby hard enough some people will change their minds, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you just lost him? He was there with you--

HACKWORTH: He was there and then we all thought he was there, to be honest, and, uh, at the end he wasn't because of other pressures that were brought to bear, I suppose.


HACKWORTH: But, any rate, we had pretty much the entire council understanding that, and, and the other thing, I think, was that view that if we did all stick together with it, uh, the public would feel 51:00a little better that we all, you know, if there was a whole lot of dissention on the council, I think it would have been almost impossible to do, and we would have just had to cut services and hope the public didn't--(laughs)--demand something to happen and maybe we'd look at it more. But our approach was, was to try to line up the council. They came fairly quickly and then, then to start talking to the public, and everything seemed to work along pretty good. We had our first reading of the ordinance, and it, and it wasn't my plan, but it just so happened--(laughs)--I, I wish I was this smart to plan these things, uh, uh, right after the first reading it was spring break, and my wife's a teacher so we took off with the kids and went to, uh, Florida. And I'm in, I'm in Sea World, and I get this, uh, call (Birdwhistell laughs). I don't think we had cell phones then. I must have just called in--


HACKWORTH: --to see how things are going--


HACKWORTH: --and I'm told that, uh, uh, that I need to be back in, uh, Shelbyville by such and such a time on such and such a day 'cause the Chamber of Commerce was going to have a, have a public meeting about 52:00this, and they, they were demanding we be there.


HACKWORTH: I only had that happen to me one other time where I had someone else demand when my time was going to be, uh, given-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--without any call to say, "Would this be a good time for you?"

BIRDWHISTELL: Without consultation. (laughs)

HACKWORTH: Uh, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So did you come back?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. We, we came back. We talked about it. I, I talked about the possibility of not coming back and just saying, "Look, you all didn't consult with me." But I was fearful that the public would read that the wrong way and would say I'm running away from the issue or however that would be written up in the newspaper, so I felt I had to come back and deal with it even though I didn't really appreciate how it was, uh--(clears throat)--handled. But in any event, we came back, and the newspaper was part of this demand, too, so that made it, meant that the ink was going to not be my way if, uh--


HACKWORTH: --which it really wasn't my way anyway, uh, from the newspaper. Uh, we have an editor who's still there that thinks that any tax is a bad tax, and somehow government should operate without any 53:00money. But--(Birdwhistell laughs)--I don't know how he figures that's going to happen, but I keep waiting for him to give me a solution. But, um, if government has any value at all, it does need money and you've got to get it somewhere. So, uh, but he said, suggested things that were totally unconstitutional in an editorial and didn't bother to check to see if any of those things would be possible--


HACKWORTH: --like, like a sales tax and like a, uh, income tax--


HACKWORTH: --and other kinds of taxes.


HACKWORTH: But, um--

BIRDWHISTELL: Which makes the job harder for you if you've got the local media--

HACKWORTH: Oh yeah. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --doing that. Then it--

HACKWORTH: And I think that's why ultimately there became a little crack in the, in the council over this. Uh, there was a lot of folks who were nice people, really nice people, who had concerns about it, and, you know, it's, it's hard. It's hard to do something that you know nice people are concerned about.


HACKWORTH: Uh, but we were able to do it, and, uh, I think because of that, um, the city was able to find a revenue source that grew with, 54:00and, of course, we were very lucky that we had it during the nineties when growth was tremendous.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really took off. Yeah.

HACKWORTH: And so now the city's in, I'm, I'm assuming, I really don't know the day-to-day situation in the city, but, uh, uh, at least has the basis to, to, to, uh, to survive growth and many other things going forward.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I don't know any other way to ask this. Was the opposition on the up and up or was there any kind of shenanigans going on like there are sometimes in Kentucky politics? Was there, was the pressure on the council all on the up and up?

HACKWORTH: Yeah, I, well, I think there were a few people that pressured, tried to use, uh, inappropriate pressure to get them to vote against it. I think the issues were on the up and up except for the article in the newspaper.


HACKWORTH: I think the issue was, do we really need the tax, is it going to draw too much money, uh, for the city. The city's going to get more 55:00money than it needs, and, you know, and the typical response from folks is, and I understand it, we're hearing it in Frankfort today, you know, you give them that much money and they'll just figure out how to spend it. Yeah, I understand that. I understand that. Uh, and, and the reason often that happens is because the public says, We want a bigger park. We want more patrols in our neighborhood.


HACKWORTH: We want to be sure the fire department can respond quicker and have the right kind of equipment. Uh, then you've got the federal government and others telling you, Well, you need to be sure all your employees are safe--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and you've got all this stuff to protect them. (Birdwhistell laughs) And we understand that. We want to protect our employees, but, but, but, you know, you've got OSHA requirements.


HACKWORTH: You've got, uh, uh, uh, the Disabilities Act requirements. You've got all these things you have to do, and, uh, it's not cheap. Uh, it would be much better if it was. We'd--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- all like to do it on the cheap if we could, and some cities still try to do it on the cheap, unfortunately, and they have a hard time with it.


HACKWORTH: But we were, uh, I think the way I viewed it was the reason 56:00the public accepted it and, and reelected almost, as far as I know, there wasn't any election later that was, was lost because of this tax, uh, and we did it early in the term. I mean, we, politically, were smart about that, uh, and on a, on, on purpose, uh, but, um, because they saw us spending the money the way they would have wanted us to spend the money.


HACKWORTH: And, and I think that's the ultimate thing about local government. You have, you, you have the opportunity at the local level, in most cases, to demonstrate that you're going to do the right thing with what you're supposed to do.

BIRDWHISTELL: Stewardship of the money.

HACKWORTH: Right. And, and, and you've got to demonstrate that to them--


HACKWORTH: --to folks, because they, they sh-, that should be demonstrated.


HACKWORTH: But, uh, that was, that was probably the most, probably the most difficult issue in that I had friends and people who really were 57:00not real happy with, with the fact that their taxes were going up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, give me an example in, on a local level like that of inappropriate pressure. What would that be like?

HACKWORTH: Well, it would be like, you know, "I've had my, uh, business with you for a long, long time"--and I was in business. You've got to understand, I had a business.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Right. And I guess these other guys did, too, of some sort. ----------(??) some kind of business.

HACKWORTH: Some of these other people did, too, and they probably had some of the same problems.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so they probably had some comments that, you know, gosh darn it, I thought--

HACKWORTH: Yeah. "I can do business down the street, and, and I will."


HACKWORTH: And, you know, that's hard--


HACKWORTH: --and that's hard for a person who's making very little money out of their job. And, and I really think that in, if you do your job right, in most cases, it's going to be harder for a local elected official to maintain their business, um, because it's, you, you know, it, over time, and I did it for thirteen years, uh, you gradually 58:00manage to make everybody mad one time or another--(both laugh)--if you're doing the right thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's like in university administration.


BIRDWHISTELL: If you stay long enough--


BIRDWHISTELL: --you'll have to say no to everybody.


BIRDWHISTELL: At some point.


BIRDWHISTELL: And they never forget the "no."


BIRDWHISTELL: They, they can't, they can't quite remember all the yeses.

HACKWORTH: Right. Although, I, you know, I will say that people, to this day, are very positive about my administration, and I hear that a lot.


HACKWORTH: I mean, I guess, you know, of course it's easy to say that when you're no longer in office. (both laugh.) But, uh, you know, I, I feel good about the fact that I think I tried to be as honest with the public as I could all the time, and I think they, it may have hurt my business some, and I think it did, but I think it, I think the public saw it as, as a positive generally.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, certainly your raising the, uh, the tax, the occupational tax--(clears throat)--came at a time when we were just beginning to see the influence of the Anti-Tax movement with House Bill 59:0044, the Reagan--


BIRDWHISTELL: --years in Washington. So you were, you know, if you'd have waited much longer it would have just gotten increasingly difficult, and--

HACKWORTH: Right. It would have, and, and it was a time when we were still, as a county, less under, even though I'm sure our county, I'm, I'm positive our county voted for Reagan, they were not generally, um, as caught up in that at the local level as they would be today.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. I sometimes wonder, you know, how, how these cities are going to continue to, to do their business. Uh, when you look just here in Lexington back in the late sixties, early seventies, when projects needed to be done, they just seemed to be done--


BIRDWHISTELL: --you know, and, and now you look around at all types of things that you wonder, When's that going to be done?


BIRDWHISTELL: Like, for better, for worse, like, Alumni Drive's still a two-lane road from Tates Creek to, to, uh, to New Circle; you know--



BIRDWHISTELL: --terrible bottleneck.


BIRDWHISTELL: (clears throat.) And, and I can remember a time when if, if traffic backed up like that on the road and the right of way was already there, somebody built the road--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and now there's no money to do that, and the same people who don't want the tax increase or don't want the revenue--

HACKWORTH: They want the road.

BIRDWHISTELL: They want the road. And I don't understand how, as a public policy issue, we're, we're going to be able to deal with this.

HACKWORTH: Well, we've talked about that a lot here at, at the League of Cities obviously and, and, uh, talked about how there seems to be a disconnect with citizens on what, um, and I think part of it is that they pay so much to the federal government, to the state government, it's, it's, it's just they're tired of paying taxes.

BIRDWHISTELL: And this is the most--

HACKWORTH: And this is the closest way you can go beat them up. (Birdwhistell laughs) You know, I, none of us can go to Washington and beat up the president and none of us, or even our congressmen, and, uh--


HACKWORTH: --none of us can really do much at, even at the state level, 61:00although you've got a little more--


HACKWORTH: --more capacity, but the reality is at the local levels where you can walk around a corner, into the office building of the guy who's on the council and say, "You know, this, this is not a good idea, and if you do this I'm going to do this."


HACKWORTH: And that's where they can say--


HACKWORTH: --that and, and mean it.


HACKWORTH: Uh, it's, you can, occasionally you can say that to a legislator--


HACKWORTH: --but, uh, and I'm sure it happens to them as well, but, uh, it, it, it definitely when you get to this level it, it, uh, it happened with some regularity.


HACKWORTH: You know, in terms of inappropriate, uh, things that, that citizens do, the only other, the only other time that I was really bothered is when I, uh, was involved in a project that, that, that was a zoning project, and it, and, uh, there was an effort to, to put 62:00a, uh, uh, trailer park, or whatever you want to call it, mobile home park--(Birdwhistell laughs)--I think you're supposed to call it, or manufactured home you're supposed to call it today. I'll get it right. Manufactured home park. Uh, because we did have housing cost issues--


HACKWORTH: --in the county. And we were desperate to try to find some way to deal with that, but we were very much concerned about not having just trailer park after trailer park after trailer park. So we created a zone, which the zoning board did, we didn't do that, but we a-, we agreed to it, obviously, but they created a zone for that, and we began to look at a, at a, uh, a developer. We didn't. A developer came along and said, "We might be interested." And, and um, um, when that came up for hearing, the developer was somebody I knew, I played golf with, that we, you know, and we were just beating this guy up to death about, No, you've got to have, you know, you've got to have screening. You've got to have all this. You've got to have a, a green 63:00area--(Birdwhistell laughs)--in there. I mean, I had my council, my green-area council person was going to insist on that, which is great. (Birdwhistell laughs) I mean, you know, we were fine with it, and we came up with all these restrictions. And we kind of, at the end, knew that they're probably not going to build this. This isn't going to happen 'cause it just, we just put too much restrictions on this-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--but we had to because--


HACKWORTH: --you know, that was a piece of property that was transitioning out of our, out of our town, but it was, it was into an area that some rather upscale people lived. And, um, well, the rather upscale people were, still weren't very happy even that we approved the, the possibility of a development over there.

BIRDWHISTELL: But it didn't happen?

HACKWORTH: It, it did, never did happen. The development never did happen. The, the zoning was approved and, uh, I was accused of, uh, must be taking money under the table, that was, that was, uh, in public media--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and that was the one that, I think I got the maddest on that one because, you know, we were just beat this poor guy up to death that was my friend who, really after it was over, was 64:00probably angry with me--


HACKWORTH: --because, uh, quite honestly, he quit doing business with me, too, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. There you are.

HACKWORTH: Um, so you end up losing on both ends trying to do the right thing, and that ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: No good deed goes unpunished.

HACKWORTH: There you go. (Birdwhistell laughs) So, uh, that, that was another challenging, uh, situation we dealt with.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now you also, uh, got involved in, uh, purchasing the golf course--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that became a revenue source.


BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about that.

HACKWORTH: That was another fun project I got a little criticism over. Uh, we had, uh, some gentlemen come in, uh, who had done golf, golf course development and, uh, uh, I think saw the potential in Shelbyville for a, for a public golf course, and they bought land along the interstate and they built this golf course. And, uh, oh, they made it look nice. They put in bentgrass fairways and all this nice stuff, um, and, um, after about a year or so it, it got pretty good play, but 65:00they forgot that they really didn't have a very good, adequate water supply, and they weren't sure how they were going to keep all these nice bentgrass--(Birdwhistell laughs)--fairways green in the middle of the summer. Uh, they realized they were going to have to spent a whole lot more money or do something to address that, and, and, and, and they were in the golf course building business so they kept, they were building other golf courses.

BIRDWHISTELL: They moved on to the other--

HACKWORTH: And, and I think they were basically taking the cash flow off of this and putting it into other developments, and they were just basically ready to unload this. So it came up for sale, and, of course, we could have let it go to some private developer but, uh, we weren't absolutely sure what that would mean going long-term. Was that going to be good for the community or not? Well, we had a parks system that had a, uh, what was called an executive course. That was the only other public course in town. Other than that, you had to go to, uh, to the, uh, country club or go, well, we had, uh, Persimmon Ridge out, way 66:00out in the edge of the county almost in Jefferson County, but, uh, we kind of felt that, that this would be a good piece for the park system. You'd have this sort of feeder course at the park.


HACKWORTH: People learn to play golf, get excited about it and then they could move up and play at this, this Weissinger Hills. Uh, we also thought that, given its location right on the interstate and very close to Jefferson County like we are, that it would be a grand place to, uh, for people to come up and play who--


HACKWORTH: didn't want to wait in line to play at, uh, some of the Louisville courses--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, uh, so we, we made the decision to, to, to take a shot at buying this golf course and, uh, we did. And, uh, it was a pretty expensive little, little proposition obviously because we're going to not only have to buy, we were going to have to do some work 67:00on it because it needed some work, uh, but it was, like, two and a half, three million dollar deal, ultimately, I think, which in the golf business is not very expensive.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you had your occupational tax in place by that time so you could have the money to buy it or how did you buy it?

HACKWORTH: Well, we were going to try to do this without having to use tax dollars. That was our, our goal.

BIRDWHISTELL: How were you going to do that?

HACKWORTH: Uh, do a bond issue--


HACKWORTH: --and try to pay it from revenues off the course.


HACKWORTH: And, um, we, uh, so we did the deal. We got a bond issue, and we got reasonable, a real good rate, at that time, and for that time. Um, I'm sure you could do a whole lot better today, and, um, we, uh, uh, went forward with the project. The criticism seemed to come from two places; one, those who said we were going to put a lot of tax dollars out there and, you know, which was, again, we were going to try to do this without doing that. And we, and the numbers worked. I had about four or five people run numbers. I had a guy who supposedly 68:00did this for a living--(Birdwhistell laughs)--do it, and he came back with real positive numbers. And then I knew, had a friend who was involved in some developments, uh, in Shelbyville and who was sort of the numbers cruncher for his, he was a real money guy--


HACKWORTH: --and I said, "Look, I don't want to get into this thing if it's going to be a disaster. I mean, I really don't want to spend tax dollars out there." (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right. Yeah. (Hackworth laughs)

HACKWORTH: "Uh, can we figure a way to do this, and, uh, would you take a look at it?" So he did, and he ran the numbers, and he said he saw it working pretty well within about a two- or three-year period. So, we knew we were going to have a two- or three-year period it was, might be a little close, uh, and we managed to structure it so we weren't, didn't have to make any payments for, like, a year and a half or something like that. Um--

BIRDWHISTELL: And was the city going to run water out there, then? Is that part of the deal?

HACKWORTH: It had water. What we were going to do is use city water to fill up the one water source they had which was a, was a, which was a 69:00too small lake. If the lake had been bigger it would have been fine--


HACKWORTH: --but the lake was a little too small. And we looked at expanding the lake. We looked at other options. Um, it ultimately got solved by running, uh, uh, and this was several years later when they had more money and could afford to do it, uh, they ran a, uh, uh, the basically raw water off the sewer plant.


HACKWORTH: And so it's now, uh, that runs into this lake and so, uh, we're taking advantage of our sewer runoff to, uh, which, you know, I wouldn't necessarily, uh, be careful how you clean your balls out there, but it, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Watch where you step.

HACKWORTH: Yeah. No. (Birdwhistell laughs) Actually, uh, that runoff's very clean, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's water that hasn't been treated for, retreated for drinking?

HACKWORTH: Right. Right. It's not, it's not chlorinated as much as it would have been if it were to be drinking water--



HACKWORTH: --but, um, any rate, that's how they solved it. But at the time, uh, it was a little bit, it's still a little tricky for us, but basically we took the bentgrass out and put in regular grass and didn't require as much maintenance. And if it dried out in the, in the summertime, so we'd just have dry fairways--

BIRDWHISTELL: And it would come back.

HACKWORTH: --and it would come back and, uh, and, and that way, we, the main thing is to just, to keep the greens.


HACKWORTH: And so we, we kind of took a little more of a, a conservative approach--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, were able to cut our costs of maintenance, um, and, and made it work. Um--

BIRDWHISTELL: You did have to hire somebody to manage it, though, didn't you?

HACKWORTH: Oh, absolutely. We had to hire a golf pro, and we had to do all the stuff you have to do to run a golf course. And, you know, and, um, it, you know, it wasn't a perfect deal. Uh, there's some chance if we had held out for less or differently we could have gotten it for less, but, you know, any real estate deal is a real estate deal and you always feel like you paid more than you should have and the people 71:00that sold it probably feel like they got a little less than they should have. (Birdwhistell laughs) And so it was probably a reasonably good deal, but the numbers were about right for the, for, for what it would take. If we would have had to buy the acreage, we would have had to pay what we paid for the golf course just to build it--


HACKWORTH: --so we felt it was a good enough deal from that perspective. Um, and it, within a very short time, started paying for itself and has really never, uh, we may have made a few--(clears throat)--loans that we didn't necessarily talk a whole lot about, uh, here and there to get it, keep it going from time to time, but we really never did have to, to use tax dollars to pay for it.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you used the bridge loans. (laughs)

HACKWORTH: Yeah. We might have had to bridge loan a couple of times. But, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why was it, uh, named, uh, it was Undulata Golf Course?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And we liked that name, and there was a fellow that had Undulata some kind of school or summer camp where people could 72:00go ride horses and do stuff and he was a dentist out of, out of, uh, uh, Louisville. I think it's the same guy that might have said I did something wrong I mentioned earlier--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but, any rate, I didn't care much more. Any rate, he, uh, he had that wonderful piece of property that, uh, was, uh, Undulata, uh, where Undulata, the whole farm had been called Undulata.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where did it come from? I don't know that.

HACKWORTH: It's like rolling hills or something like that is what it means.


HACKWORTH: I can't remember for sure, um, and, um, any rate, or maybe it's, like, nirvana or something. (Birdwhistell laughs) I don't know, but it, it's some name like that. It means something real nice.

BIRDWHISTELL: It has meaning.

HACKWORTH: It has meaning if you know what it is. I'm sorry. I don't, uh, but in any event, it was a nice name. We were going to leave it--


HACKWORTH: --and, um, uh, this guy threatened to take us into, uh, court for using his, uh, his name basically. And we haggled about it, and I, 73:00you know, I told him to go to where they could go early on--


HACKWORTH: --and we were going to go ahead. And, and our folks started looking at it and said, Look, you know, this can end up lasting for a while. You're going to, you know, if you're going to brand this thing, you need to brand it, and so, rather than, uh, get it branded as one name and then have to turn around and rebrand it since we were buying it and it was all transitioning anyway, we figured the time to brand it was in the beginning, so we changed the name.

BIRDWHISTELL: So how did you come up with the name?

HACKWORTH: Weissinger, the Weissinger family was the family that owned Undulata, so it was really named for the family. We just took the family name, um, and that whole farm. They were a very prominent family that had lots of property, owned Undulata, had two or three major houses on it; had what, what is the second largest barn in Kentucky on it and a number of other things. So it was, uh, um, we, 74:00yeah, it was, we, we actually ran a contest for people to submit names, and we had a lot of interesting sub-, submissions. But that one we--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Not Hackworth?

HACKWORTH: That was suggested and then just Hackworth Golf Course, and I thought, No. I don't think so. (Birdwhistell laughs) I don't want to be named after a golf course. I don't, you know, or have a golf course named after me. But any rate, that was, that was how that went, and we got, we, we, we just settled on that name. And, uh, there probably were better names maybe, but, uh, it, it stuck and it's unusual and unique and everybody knows where it is now.


HACKWORTH: So it's branded. It's worked.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I thought maybe, uh, you got somebody to put in money to the golf course for the naming opportunity.

HACKWORTH: That would have been a, if I'd have been thinking I'd, now why didn't you suggest that a few years ago? (Birdwhistell laughs) I'd have probably named it after anybody that put up the money to pay for it. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, uh, that didn't happen and, and we didn't, uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: We didn't think about it like.

HACKWORTH: --we didn't think about that.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, that's something that we all learn that we have to do in baseball stadiums and football stadiums--


BIRDWHISTELL: --for good or for worse.

HACKWORTH: Yeah. Well, we did want this to be a public--


HACKWORTH: --place that, uh, hopefully didn't have a lot of advertisement, but it, it worked out, it worked out fine. And it's making money now, and it's doing well. And everything they tell me about it now is it's real positive. It had, you know, the number of rounds were well above what we anticipated by the time, you know, even under the projections. So it's above projections now. It's making money. It's paying for itself. It's paying for, you know, other things that can be done. So, it's, it's positive.

BIRDWHISTELL: Mayors during the time that you served as mayor, uh, were involved in a lot of progressive changes in the cities and development of the city government and modernizing the government. You did the same thing in, in Shelbyville.


BIRDWHISTELL: You hired a, created a position of city administrator, hired a personnel director--


BIRDWHISTELL: --codified all the different things that have to be done. 76:00I mean, there, there was a lot of work to do just in that sort of infrastructure of these cities at the time that you and others--


BIRDWHISTELL: --contemporary mayors came in--


BIRDWHISTELL: --during that sev-, late seventies-early eighties period.

HACKWORTH: Right. And there had been some, uh, legislation that was, required some of these changes and, uh, which was good, I think, um, uh, but a lot of cities just hadn't gotten it done. And so we had to go in and work towards getting some of those things done, but, the, the, the, you know, from a management perspective I, I viewed the role, and I guess I still, and I, I, we have a lot of mayors who insist upon being city administrators.


HACKWORTH: Uh, and still do today, and, and, you know, that's certainly their right under, if they're a Mayor-council form of government--


HACKWORTH: --it's certainly their right and, and I don't, don't, and some of them in smaller cities maybe it's the only way it can be done. I, I don't--

BIRDWHISTELL: In some ways, it's a personality trait for people who want to be in charge.

HACKWORTH: Yeah, but the problem is, is you can still be in charge, but 77:00I'd rather be in charge of the bigger things.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, but I'm saying there's a personality trait--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that wants to have their fingers in everything.

HACKWORTH: And you've got to be sure those little things are taken care of--


HACKWORTH: --and, and if I, and, and if I had a fault, it may have been that sometimes I did allow folks, give them a little too much leeway-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--in terms of the little things. And there were a few times it might have gotten a little bit behind me where, you know, I wish I had been a little more on top of it, but, uh, but the main role, I think of the mayor, should be to oversee the big things--


HACKWORTH: --and to be worrying about where their community's place is in the bigger picture; uh, be thinking about how to move the community forward--


HACKWORTH: --to be thinking about, um, how to, to be interacting with state government and federal government and all those things to, to do the right things; um, to be sure you are going to those meetings that 78:00involved, uh, that, that get you involved in the community at large, uh, that you're asked to do, quite honestly.


HACKWORTH: Um, so, those are, tha-, that's why I think that it's important if you can, if you can afford a city administrator, if you can afford these more professional positions to let those people do those things. They're trained to do it, uh, they understand what's, what needs to be done, and let them decide, you know, put together a schedule for pothole filling, and you worry about other things.


HACKWORTH: But if the potholes don't get filled, you've got to step in.

BIRDWHISTELL: It still comes back.

HACKWORTH: And you've got to step in.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

HACKWORTH: But typically the potholes get filled and things get done. For the most part, it works.

BIRDWHISTELL: Switching gears a little, a little bit, there are, uh--I'm going to go ahead and change this tape ----------(??).

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: There are, uh, cities in Kentucky where the, uh, number of 79:00African Americans, the percentage of African Americans is l-, is, uh, considered large by Kentucky standards. Hopkinsville, probably Paris, Shelbyville's--


BIRDWHISTELL: --one of those communities, uh, and as mayor, um, there's always racial issues in--


BIRDWHISTELL: --in communities and, uh, as mayor, you, you had to deal with your fair share of those. I was, I guess what I would ask you is, uh, sort of put the racial climate in context for a, a person who doesn't know Shelbyville. It has a historical component to it and then it had a very contemporary component in terms of you trying to deal with, uh, changing race relations--


BIRDWHISTELL: --as, as an administrator of the city government.


BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me, sort of put that in some kind of perspective for me.

HACKWORTH: Well, Shelbyville, uh, had a, did have a, and does still have, a very large African American population, and they are, uh, um--hold 80:00off a minute, um--can you hold off for a minute? I've got to--uh, it does have a very large African American population, and they, um, uh, have, were always an integral part of the community in many ways. Um, uh, I, I'm sure that, historically, and I don't know all the historical basis for, for, for that, but I'm sure because of our agricultural, being a large agricultural county and all that they were a significant part of that and, and, and they certainly were as I was growing up.


HACKWORTH: Um, and there was always a, you know, from my perspective, there was always a pretty good, I think, relationship between the black community and the white community, uh, in, in there, and, of course, as the sixties came and, you know, we had the facilities that weren't opened to, to, to the African Americans. We had, we had all the same 81:00prejudices that any other community has--


HACKWORTH: --but, um, I think generally there was, the, I think we generally, and this is not everyone obviously, uh, looked upon the African American community, as the white community looked upon them, uh, as, as, as an integral part of our community; as, as generally good people who, who, uh, worked hard and did the right things--


HACKWORTH: --and were, so I don't think there was a great deal of animosity, except that, as with every community, we began to deal with this, this change and transition. And that began to separate us into those who thought that was a good thing and those who didn't.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. We talked last time about during the time you were in school the transition of the--


BIRDWHISTELL: --of the desegregation--


BIRDWHISTELL: --uh, and those types of things. Uh, what are the, what are the pressures? What are the racial pressures on you as a mayor, uh, 82:00during this period?

HACKWORTH: Well, the main thing I dealt with early on was I was, uh, um, when I came into office I had one African American employee who happened to be a police officer, and, uh, it was a matter of weeks after I got elected and took office, well, it was after I took office, that he, uh, decided to, was offered a job with the state police. It was much higher pay and higher than anything we could pay, and certainly, uh, was good for him, and that was great and, and off he went. And so I had zero African American employees--(both laugh)--and, um, we had no minority recruitment plans in place. We had, nothing had been done to prepare for this, you know--


HACKWORTH: --historically.


HACKWORTH: Um, and I had people in place that were in place. I mean, 83:00you know, I had a city clerk who'd been there for a number of years. I had a police chief who'd been there for a number of years. I had a fire chief who'd been there for a number of years, and, so, both the management and everyone else was sort of from the old world I'll just say. And, um, I knew a lot of changes were going to have to take place at the top all the way down for this to work, and, uh, I began to look at how to address that, but unfortunately, you don't, in the position you're in, you don't have the luxury of time always to deal with issues, um--(Birdwhistell laughs)--um, there are those who think anything that doesn't happen today means it's not going to happen and, and are suspicious of anyone who says, "I'm working on it."


HACKWORTH: Um, I honestly was working on it, but that was not necessarily, uh, accepted by the entire black community. They felt like they had, were entitled, as they certainly, uh, were, if you want to 84:00look at it from a percentage basis, they were, uh, more than entitled--


HACKWORTH: --to, um, to have jobs and opportunities within city government, and they should.


HACKWORTH: Um, we made some efforts to hire into the police department. That seemed to be the hot spot. Um, it was almost as if I have a black police officer then they're happy which, to me, wouldn't have been adequate--


HACKWORTH: --but they were--

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)----------

HACKWORTH: --that was the, that was the litmus test if you had a black police officer.


HACKWORTH: So, um, the, uh, Reverend Coleman, who we all know, even today, is very active, and active, even today, with all the issues going on in Louisville, um, was part of our community in some ways. He had a community center out there. Uh, he may have even lived there at that time. I think he lives in Louisville now, but at that time, I 85:00think he actually may have lived in Shelbyville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about your interaction with him. How did, did you know him before you became mayor?

HACKWORTH: Unh-uh. No, I, I'd heard of him, but I didn't know him.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so you met him when you became mayor?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. I had heard, well, I mean, I knew he, you know, he was a community figure in that he had this community center in town and he was a minister in one of our churches at that time in town--


HACKWORTH: --and, um, so, you know, you'd see him in the paper and you saw him on the street.


HACKWORTH: You know, I knew who he was--


HACKWORTH: --but I had never had a, I don't know that he and I had ever had a real conversation.


HACKWORTH: And, uh, so I go to a council meeting and I get tipped off there are going to be media there, um, and, uh, I, I asked my, I actually asked my wife and my mother to go 'cause I knew they were, knew, we all went to school with a lot of the folks that I figured might be there, and--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and my mother knew a lot of these people from--


HACKWORTH: --you know, she was a long-time Shelbyville resident. And, uh, so I just thought having them there would maybe bring the level of 86:00conversation down some.


HACKWORTH: I think it was really, uh, it actually worked.


HACKWORTH: Uh, in fact, my wife, uh, well, we get to the meeting. I have the media in my face, you know. "Is it true you all don't have any black police officers?" You know, and, and, uh, "Is it true you won't hire any black police officers,"--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and, "Is it true this" and, you know. Uh, none of the questions of what are we going to be doing about this, of course. It was all, what are you going to, you know, what's, what, what's "Is it true you're not doing anything today?"--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and, uh, "You haven't"--any rate, the good reverend brings his folks with him and, and, um, uh, a number of, uh, uh, and it was a, somewhat of a cross section of the community. It wasn't just his church members, um, and, uh, they, they made their, their concerns known. Um, I promised that I'd address that and, and went to work trying to address it, um, asked them for 87:00some patience, uh, but, uh, it was a, it was a, ended up being a much more difficult process than I thought it would be. I thought it would just be a matter of identifying a few folks in the African American community who wanted to be police officers, putting them through school, and that would be the end of it.

BIRDWHISTELL: So why didn't that work?

HACKWORTH: They didn't get through school--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, I had no control over that or, to my knowledge, had no control over that. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, they then blamed the chief, said it was the chief's fault, and, uh, uh, I, I don't know that it really was. I, I never had a sense that somehow he was able to get them flunked out of school, but, you know, I can't say--


HACKWORTH: --that, they're, that couldn't have happened. I don't know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is this the Police Academy at Eastern?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. This is at Eastern, so my assumption is, is that's a very independent organization--


HACKWORTH: --that operates independently and is not going to necessarily let somebody flunk out of school because, uh, out of the class because 88:00they--

BIRDWHISTELL: And, in fact, they would want to graduate African Americans.

HACKWORTH: I would think so.


HACKWORTH: I would think so.

BIRDWHISTELL: But that plan didn't work?

HACKWORTH: The, well, it didn't work quickly. Uh, what I ultimately just kept working it and working it, and we, we, we finally were able to get two African Americans hired, um, and, um, then from there, we, uh, what I began to do was look at our whole system--(laughs)--and see that it was not appropriately integrated.


HACKWORTH: And. as I began to change leadership in the police department, the fire department and the, uh, public works. In fact, I hired, uh, an African American Head of Public Works, a fellow who had been worked out and tur-, and been a teacher at, uh, uh, Lincoln Institute, uh, and he had taught in the construction trades and those 89:00kinds of things, so he was fairly familiar and--


HACKWORTH: -- what I needed and, uh, he's still there today.

BIRDWHISTELL: So first of all, you're a tax-and-spend liberal. Then, you're doing affirmative action. You are, you're on the wrong side of the, the, the, the--

HACKWORTH: Well, if that's, if that's being on the wrong side, then I admit guilt--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but I'm not a tax-and-spend liberal. I'm a, I'm a, if you want to put it, I don't know what a tax-and-spend liberal is--

BIRDWHISTELL: I, I know. I'm just, I'm just playing.

HACKWORTH: --but I do know, but I do believe in affirmative action, I, and I'll, and I'll, I'll say that because if I had not made the effort to, and, and, and believe me, I don't--(laughs)--I understand the tension between affirmative action in the sense that it's a, um, some sort of right--


HACKWORTH: --that, uh, you get because you're African American over a white person--


HACKWORTH: --and I don't believe in that, but I do believe that you have to, to affirmatively--


HACKWORTH: --go out and look and recruit and try to bring--



HACKWORTH: --uh, African Americans to the, to the table basically to find those folks--


HACKWORTH: --because they have options. (laughs)


HACKWORTH: And the folks you're going to want to bring in have options.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And you were not going to hire somebody who could not run public works?

HACKWORTH: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So that's, that's always the, the ----------(??)--

HACKWORTH: And I wasn't going to hire a police officer who had two drug convictions.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Who was incompetent.

HACKWORTH: Uh, I wasn't going to hire, you know, there were certain things that I had to draw limits around--


HACKWORTH: --because it was important--


HACKWORTH: --to, uh, to all of us--


HACKWORTH: --and so I'd say that, uh, by the time I left there, I don't know how many African Americans I hired, but I, I'd actually hired and fired one African American fire chief--(laughs)--well, he, he, he, he voluntarily left--


HACKWORTH: --but it was pretty close to a fire.


HACKWORTH: Uh, and I did catch some flack over that. But, um, you know, I think it bega-, people began to understand that my policy was--


HACKWORTH: --to be open-ended and to try--I brought, I brought an African 91:00American into the administration, into the, into the clerk's office. She's now, uh, the clerk. Um, she wasn't then, but she is now.


HACKWORTH: Uh, I mean, I did a lot of things to try to move that whole--

BIRDWHISTELL: Moving on down (??) ----------(??)--

HACKWORTH: --issue forward, and I hope that they continue to do that. If they don't, it will be to their detriment. We now have an African American police chief--


HACKWORTH: --who came through the ranks that was one of the people I hired. So, it, it has worked. It can work. Uh, I would encourage other communities to, that have this situation, to be sure they're thinking about that--


HACKWORTH: --and to, to work on it.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's great. That's great. Of course, there are still things outside your control; things happen that, uh, bring negative publicity and one is this, uh, murder of Vanissa Wafford.


BIRDWHISTELL: --a very highly charged--


BIRDWHISTELL: --uh, racial thing where she's a, uh, young white woman who's, uh, murdered--



BIRDWHISTELL: --a store clerk and she's murdered. She's very popular in the community--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and after some, uh, searching, uh, this person William Stark is, uh, identified as the murderer, right?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. They, um, and the case never really was fully solved because they, they're, and I don't know whether the investigation, I, I, you know, can't really comment on the investigation other than our police force felt that they were taken out pretty early and were not given much opportunity to be part of the process and, uh--


HACKWORTH: Uh, state police--

BIRDWHISTELL: State police.

HACKWORTH: --were primarily involved in the investigation, and, and, uh, the, uh, they kind of took control of the investigation. So it was, um, it was a real tough time for the community. I think there were several things about that that were tough for the community, and I don't know. I, it was somewhat of a, it somewhat had some racial overtones because the person charged was, was African American, but I think the 93:00real concern for citizens was that for the first time, somebody just working in a store by themselves, and it may not have been the first time, first time in my memory, um, you know, they just get murdered.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So it changes the whole--


BIRDWHISTELL: --climate of the town.

HACKWORTH: And, um, it wasn't, uh, too many years later we had, uh, in fact, my brother's mother-in-law got murdered, uh--


HACKWORTH: --in her neighborhood--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, so you begin to understand that you're, Shelbyville's not as safe as it used to be.


HACKWORTH: And I think that, that was the hardest part of it. It was a little bit like 9/11 was to the country--


HACKWORTH: --you know? It was a wakeup call that we're not this little isolated little town where the only people that get killed are when people get mad at each other and shoot each other 'cause they're mad at each other.


HACKWORTH: You know what I mean? It was a, this place where somebody 94:00could just go to work that morning and not come home, or somebody could walk, be doing their afternoon walk--


HACKWORTH: --and not come home.


HACKWORTH: And that was, that was tough. Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But Lewis Coleman interjected himself into this, and there were charges that, uh, people in the community were using racial slurs when they described the, the alleged, uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: --murder--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that, uh, that, uh, Igleheart was, uh--

HACKWORTH: Well, Igleheart was the target of all of that as I--

BIRDWHISTELL: Because he was mentioning that the woman was white every of-, every, you know--


BIRDWHISTELL: --every report, you know, this (??)--


BIRDWHISTELL: And so what, it--


BIRDWHISTELL: --it just took a, uh, uh--

HACKWORTH: I think from a, you know, and again I, I, I, I, I guess the reason I'm not relating to that as well as I should was--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's fine (??).

HACKWORTH: --was I was, although our police department was involved as much as they could be in the investigation, uh, I was actually in Larry Hopkins' office in Washington when I found out about it. I was, uh, had, uh, um, I was visiting Washington--



HACKWORTH: --with my kids--


HACKWORTH: --and, uh, we were in his office and, uh, he was our congressman. In those days, we were actually part of the same congressional district as Lexington--


HACKWORTH: --and, um, um, any rate, uh, that's the way I found out about it. But the, the issue as far as, uh, the community wa-, uh, uh, in, in a number of situations, the, this being one, uh, where a prosecutor or someone else uses language, and, and we, we can all be guilty of this because we're not always thinking the way we should be about these things, but because of the way he may have used language or the way he may have put things was interpreted, uh, by the black community to have racial overtones, and it was unfortunate because, you know, all, all of us hoped as we found out who killed this lady--


HACKWORTH: --and, and that that person was brought to justice. And I'm sure the prosecutor felt the same, but unfortunately, uh, opened himself up to some, some, some issues.


I think the one issue that was interesting to me was the old black school that, uh, uh, we, of course, as every community, we had our white schools and our--


HACKWORTH: --our, uh, African American-black schools, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: High Street School?

HACKWORTH: This was High Street School. And, uh, a person bought the property and turned it into apartments. Well, it was just terrible and needed to be condemned, and so we went through this process of trying to condemn this property where there was just, this guy threw every roadblock under the sun in front of us. And, uh, we were ultimately able to condemn the property and to, to go, um, through a condemnation process to buy it--


HACKWORTH: --so we could tear it down--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but, uh, again, it was, it was a symbol, uh, and it was, and, and the symbol was just much like the police officer--



HACKWORTH: --black police-officer symbol, that, that the black community caught onto because it was still a symbol of the old segregation and, and--


HACKWORTH: --it was almost as if somehow the city was trying to preserve that in some way or another because we wouldn't tear it down.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)--

HACKWORTH: And we, we had to go through the legal process. They, again, didn't want to give us time to do that. (Birdwhistell laughs) I was pretty perplexed at times, myself, as to why it took us so long, uh, and kept pushing our city attorney and others to, to move this thing along and get it done, but in the meantime we had several marches and several protests and several situations that, that came up. And I have a brick today from the old High Street--


HACKWORTH: --Street, it's over there, from the old High Street School that we were presented after we finally got it down--(Birdwhistell laughs)--uh, not as a symbol of anything other than the memory that, uh, being mayor could be tough, I guess, and that, uh, um, and our thankfulness that we were ultimately able to get it done. Uh, we had to pay this fellow some money to do it, which, uh, was unfortunate, 98:00but, any rate, we got it done.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, the other thing that comes up in, uh, people who were mayor during the time you were mayor and, uh, from many different cities, is that, uh, uh, the mayors at that time had to go in and sort of, uh, redo the infrastructure within the black communities; you know, sidewalks--


BIRDWHISTELL: --sanitary sewers.


BIRDWHISTELL: They'd been neglected for--

HACKWORTH: Oh, absolutely.

BIRDWHISTELL: --I mean, forever.

HACKWORTH: Absolutely.


HACKWORTH: Well, the other thing we attempted to do is create home ownership.


HACKWORTH: And we were able, successful to get grants to do that. I mean, if it hadn't been for the federal money--


HACKWORTH: --we would not have been able to do this--


HACKWORTH: --but we got federal money that enabled us to go in and basically convert a lot of the rental properties into home ownership. And we were able to move a lot of the, uh, slumlords out of, out--


HACKWORTH: --of that area, out of that community. Um, I mean, they just find other places to go, I guess, but we were able--

BIRDWHISTELL: --but at least--

HACKWORTH: --to successfully at least address it--


HACKWORTH: --in some areas.



HACKWORTH: Um, and I would, and that was another thing that we, uh, Marshall Long had started that process when he was mayor, was able to get some federal money. Uh, it was a number of years before, uh, I came along and was able to do that, but once we got started I think we really started working on that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. But I think it's important to put it in some kind of context that these cities had been around for a long time--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and, and that the, uh, the attention that had been paid to certain--


BIRDWHISTELL: --neighborhoods, well, Scotty Baesler had to do the same thing here--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and that was actually a white neighborhood--


BIRDWHISTELL: --out, going out east--

HACKWORTH: Right. Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --where there was no sewers, there's no--


BIRDWHISTELL: --sidewalks, no streetlights.


BIRDWHISTELL: And, and for a government to take that on, I guess, the federal money really, I mean, that's a big, those are big-ticket items.

HACKWORTH: Right. It was and it was very expensive, and un-, and unfortunately, it was even more expensive than it has to be because of the requirements the federal government puts on you.


HACKWORTH: Uh, it, it's unfortunate we can't find a way to do that locally without having to, or the federal government would somehow 100:00cut some of the strings off of what they require you to do because in the end, I, I'd say, we could have done that project for at least two- thirds of what it cost--


HACKWORTH: --if we'd have had less federal strings attached. But the, uh, but it, it has made a difference in that community. We looked for other ways to convert home ownership. I worked with Habitat for Humanity--


HACKWORTH: --and they've built a number of homes in, in Shelbyville; not, not enough but they've built several. Uh, there's just different ways you had to approach it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is Shelbyville still a predominantly segregated residential community?

HACKWORTH: Not near as much as it used to be. It's, uh, still predominantly, would be, I guess, classified that way, uh, but not as much because, because a lot of the housing was, was, uh, integrated. A lot of the, a lot of the housing was built other than in these neighborhoods, but neighborhoods are probably still predominantly African American, but it's, it's changing some, too.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. All right. There are all kinds of, uh, as we found 101:00out in Lexington recently, natural disasters that try a ma-, a mayor's patience, I guess. You mentioned in a piece you wrote about numerous floods. What, is that from the stream that comes--

HACKWORTH: Clear Creek that goes around our city. We're, we're, we're uh, uh, uh, on three sides, I guess you could say, of the city there's a creek that runs around at least the, sort of the historical city--


HACKWORTH: --and, um, there are some low-lying areas that flood all the time and then we had some, some significant drainage problems.

BIRDWHISTELL: Storm sewer drainage?

HACKWORTH: Storm sewer drainage problems that ended up flooding Main Street on a regular basis--


HACKWORTH: --and parts of Washington Street on a regular basis, which we finally got the state to help me get fixed. So--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is Washington Street the street that's down below Main Street there on--

HACKWORTH: Yeah. Uh, Washington goes, uh, um, west one way and, and Main Street goes east, east--


HACKWORTH: --one way.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. So it's that, on that side 'cause there's another street on down that goes--

HACKWORTH: Yeah. That's Henry Clay.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see. And, uh--


HACKWORTH: --but we had a lot of drainage problems. We had a dam that, uh, um, on the--

BIRDWHISTELL: On the country club. Yeah.

HACKWORTH: --country club that, uh, that, that, that was supposedly going to burst, and if it did it was going to cause all this damage downstream.

BIRDWHISTELL: An earthen dam?

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And I was trying to figure out what damage it was going to 'cause, but I'm sure it probably would have been some, but they, it was like, they, they treated it like it was going to be this huge surge of water and--(Birdwhistell laughs)--be like a tidal wave rolling down the creek.

BIRDWHISTELL: Take that ship and go (laughs).

HACKWORTH: Uh, and I, I just somehow didn't buy it, but maybe it would have happened. But any rate, I couldn't say no to the people who know, supposedly, and we declared a state of emergency and went through a whole process on that and managed to get on, uh, television a few times. And, and the dam was actually in the country club, and it had been some deal cau-, long ago why the city would own--(Birdwhistell laughs)--a dam in the middle of this country club. Well, we ultimately said to the country club, Here are your options. We'll take the dam 103:00out or you can buy it--(Birdwhistell laughs)--buy this lake back. You can have your dam. (Birdwhistell laughs) If you want it. Well, of course, that didn't make my country club friends real happy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you a member?

HACKWORTH: Uh, oh yeah. Yeah. Well, the, I mean, I'd made them made with that and then I made them made with Weissinger Hills because they, they, they thought that was going to take all their membership. (Birdwhistell laughs) Um, they, competition never seemed to occur to them as a good idea. (Birdwhistell laughs) It really made our country club a much better place.

BIRDWHISTELL: All the capitalists didn't believe in--


BIRDWHISTELL: --competition (laughs).

HACKWORTH: Well, they don't; not when it's their pocketbook. The, uh, it was interesting that, that I get thanked a lot by people over in the country club--(Birdwhistell laughs)--for helping them make it be a, make it be a better place, but at the time, I wasn't. But, any rate, that was, uh, that was one of the issues we had, but also I had a tornado like the--


HACKWORTH: --which was very similar to Teresa's ice storm here in Lexington.


HACKWORTH: I had a tornado early in my, and, and it was my first, it, that was, that, I think that was before the media hit me up on the, on the police officer, and, um, uh, so I think it was my first real, 104:00you know, mic-in-the-face discussion on, on, on, on, uh, Louisville media. And, and, uh, they, uh, of course want to know, How much damage did you have out here? (Birdwhistell laughs) You know, like, What am I, a real estate appraiser? I don't know. You know, I mean, it hit a shopping center--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and thank God nobody was killed. I mean, that's all I cared about, and I'm not sure what we're going to do to straighten it all out, but we're working on it. But I, you know, I couldn't say that, and I, you had to sort of figure out how to do that, and that was my sort of baptism by fire with the media; um, that and the, that and the, uh, Reverend Coleman's first protest, I think were my two major baptisms.



BIRDWHISTELL: On the job training.


BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That, uh, that stream that goes through there, you, you don't really notice it much, do you, as far as being part of the community?

HACKWORTH: No, and that's something we tried to work on. It's not, unfortunately, we haven't done a good enough job with it. We wanted 105:00to, uh, we have purchased a lot of that with easements, now--


HACKWORTH: --and we're trying to create, you know, walkways and things of that nature. But--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it like the size of Elkhorn, uh, in certain spots?

HACKWORTH: It's a pretty good size in spots, but it also runs dry in the--


HACKWORTH: --in the, uh--


HACKWORTH: --dry times.

BIRDWHISTELL: Of course, there's a historical incident associated with that where there was some racial incident where, uh, uh, an African American was charged with some crime, taken out of the jail, taken over to one of the bridges and hung from the bridge, and then the rope snapped or he got loose and went floating down the--

HACKWORTH: In, in Shelbyville?

BIRDWHISTELL: --the stream. Um-hm. We interviewed somebody, uh, at one point about that.

HACKWORTH: Oh. Um, well that, probably that's where they did hang people then over there on that bridge.

BIRDWHISTELL: That would be my guess. Yeah.

HACKWORTH: I don't know. Uh, Jail Hill Bridge is what it's called.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that what it's called?


BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's probably it. (both laugh) I would guess that's the spot.

HACKWORTH: Um-hm. Yeah. Uh, there are some pretty paintings of it. Uh, it was a covered bridge.



HACKWORTH: But, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But it's hard for communities to take advantage of those types of, uh, physical, uh, things like a stream.

HACKWORTH: Well, again, there's not enough resources to--


HACKWORTH: --do it the way you want to do it. Uh, I was in, uh, uh, Jasper, Indiana. Uh, we do a, the League of Cities does an exchange with the Indiana League every year, and this year, last year, we went to Jasper. And they've got this wonderful, uh, jogging trail, bike trail, whatever around their creek or river or whatever it is that runs through their town, and the Mayor said, "Well, somebody came to me and said, 'We need to do that.'" And he said, "Well, I'll be glad to do it if you'd pay for it," and the guy wrote him a check. (Birdwhistell laughs) So, you know, unfortunately we haven't had the guy come in and say, "We really need to do that." "Well, I'll do it if you write a check." Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Of course, here in Lexington we're setting on top of Town Branch right now, I guess, you know, in terms of the stream that ran--

HACKWORTH: Yeah. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --through here has been covered up and how different 107:00downtown Lexington would be with a--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that. (??)

HACKWORTH: Yeah. And that's, you know, we're doing our best in this town, in Shelbyville, and I think they're doing their best. And there's a whole group of folks who have adopted the creek a-, a-, as, and, uh, uh, kind of see that as their project--

BIRDWHISTELL: Really? That's good.

HACKWORTH: --but we're not, it's, you know, it, at one time was a source of water. Uh, it isn't anymore, but at one time it was. It was, it's still our, uh, where we discharge our sewer.


HACKWORTH: Um, around on the other side of--(Birdwhistell laughs)--town, of course. Uh, but, uh, uh, now that federal requirements are in place and all that, like, uh, you know, that, that's not as big a problem as I'm sure it was a long time ago. But, um, it, you know, it is a part of the fabric of our community, and, uh, when we did our downtown development plan which, I guess, I don't know, I may have been one of 108:00the first people to ever do that--


HACKWORTH: --but we did an entire plan around the downtown, we, uh, we descr-, I think we described it as the emerald necklace--


HACKWORTH: --around Shelbyville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That's cool.

HACKWORTH: And, uh, so we, we've, we've drawn attention to it, uh, but we still haven't incorporated it as well as it needs to be.

BIRDWHISTELL: And, uh, we haven't had a chance to talk about it and we're running out of time, but you got involved in the Main Street project and you worked on the, sort of the transformation of downtown into a, an area of antique shops and places that would--


BIRDWHISTELL: --thrive and that type of thing.

HACKWORTH: Well, we had identified what our strengths were, and we-- (clears throat)--we really focused in that we had, of course, Wakefield- Scearce Galleries, which is just a tremendous asset to our, to our city; uh, all the shops associated with that. Um, and that brought a whole lot of folks to town. We had some people interested in antique galleries, and we had a lady that started one and then that sort of 109:00began to build off of that. Um, but our Main Street effort was really two-fold; one was to, uh, try to preserve the downtown as much intact as it is--


HACKWORTH: --as could be and I was one of the first folks to put a historic district in place--


HACKWORTH: --that was another challenge--


HACKWORTH: --and a major confrontational challenge.

BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause the owners didn't want to have that--

HACKWORTH: And I'd say that's probably the one that, that came the closest to getting me kicked out of office--


HACKWORTH: --that I worked there because there were a lot of folks who, even to this day, have concerns about, about that and feel their property rights have been diminished, but I think long-term you look at it, it's really made a difference in the community and I think most people are, are proud of the way, the way the community looks. Um, and I think that had something to do with it, but I started, started that and the Main Street Program back in the mid-eighties, and I was its chairman, I think, for like ten years 'cause I couldn't get anybody else to do it. (Birdwhistell laughs) Um, but, any rate, we, we, uh, 110:00uh, we've still got an active going on there, and, but we built it around a plan, a Shelbyville plan. Actually, uh, uh, Mayor Abramson in Louisville loaned me one of his people to help me do a planning--


HACKWORTH: --process, so it was very helpful--


HACKWORTH: --and able to keep our costs down as a result of that.


HACKWORTH: And, uh, we, we put together, I think, a very unique community plan for the, both the downtown and then those connecting areas around it, and it identified opens spaces, green spaces, entrances, a whole lot of different things. It was pretty, pretty interesting--


HACKWORTH: --planning process.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Now, unless someone comes in here and reminds you of some of the difficult things, you look back on your time as mayor as something that was interesting that you're proud of, it seems to me.

HACKWORTH: I would say generally I felt like Shelbyville was better off, uh, after I was there, and I don't mean that in a--


HACKWORTH: --you know--


HACKWORTH: --cocky way or bragging way. But I just, I, I feel like, um, 111:00generally, the community, uh, we did a lot of good things and, and I was able to do a lot of good things and, and with a lot of support from a lot of the people in the community.


HACKWORTH: I mean, it wasn't just me.


HACKWORTH: Uh, we had a lot of people wanted to do the right thing-- (both laugh)--in our community, and because of their support, I was able to do it.


HACKWORTH: Um, but I feel like I provided some of the leadership for that, and I feel real proud of that, and I feel good about where we are today and hope we can keep moving in the right direction.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. We haven't, uh, of course we haven't had an opportunity to talk about your role here at the League of Cities, uh, but, uh, all the mayors I've interviewed talk about the importance of the League of Cities, uh, to their do-, to their personal development--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and to the development of the programs in their cities. And, uh, I don't think they're saying that because I'm working on a League of Cities project. I think that there's really a lot to that.

HACKWORTH: Well, I hope so and I hope, I hope I've even brought more to 112:00that because of my having been out there with them and know what--


HACKWORTH: --a little bit what it's like, and as I see my role in, in this association, it's to, to constantly remind folks here, uh, that these guys have pretty tough jobs--


HACKWORTH: --and they've got, they need our support and they need our help. And they're, and, and hopefully, I'm directing that, helping direct that, in the right, in the right way. Um, but the League was, had, was an invaluable resource to me. I found, as I, in fact, I, you know, my first convention I went to before I actually took the office of mayor, uh, my predecessor, Marshall Long, was kind enough to let the city send me to the--(Birdwhistell laughs)--to a convention so I could begin to figure out what I had gotten myself into, and, um, uh, it really does open your eyes to what, you know, I mean, you, you really don't know coming into these offices what's involved and you 113:00really don't understand all the requirements--(laughs)--and you really just don't understand. I mean, you, you, you have a sense as a public person and as a person interested in community you have that sort of commitment, but there's a whole lot to just the day-to-day operations--


HACKWORTH: --of a city that you don't understand. And, and they're, we're, I think, an invaluable resource in that regard, and I think we also provide information and things that help them think outside the box and think of ways to make their community better and get them to that higher goal of, of, of community building.


HACKWORTH: And, uh, so I, I feel good about what KLC does. I think we're, uh, an organization that really is responsive to its membership and hopefully we always will be. As personally, you know, I was president of the League in, at one time before I came to work here, and, uh, um, I think what I take away most from the League of Cities is that I met some people who had the same, were dealing with the same 114:00things I, I was dealing with. I met some really, really sharp people who were mayors, and, uh, I, I, I, I, I built some friendships that I think will last a lifetime out of that. Uh, and I think we kind of supported each other a little bit--


HACKWORTH: --in our journey as mayors--


HACKWORTH: --uh, and that was real helpful 'cause I, you know, it's hard to go to a, it's good to have a citizen or a friend or someone at home you can kind of open up to and--


HACKWORTH: --talk to, but sometimes you really just couldn't get what you needed--(Birdwhistell laughs)--unless you just went and talked to another guy who's dealing with the same kind of thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Had the same kind of things and didn't have a stake in--


BIRDWHISTELL: --that locally.

HACKWORTH: Right. And, and it was, it was helpful. It was almost therapeutic.


HACKWORTH: So, I really think, if nothing else, we provide that to each other--


HACKWORTH: --a support group of sorts.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. It's an interesting fraternity of people, the mayors--


BIRDWHISTELL: --it seems to me, you know, and the--

HACKWORTH: Well, it's not just fraternity these days, uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: I use that term--

HACKWORTH: I understand.

BIRDWHISTELL: --broadly.

HACKWORTH: I understand.

BIRDWHISTELL: And, uh, the, uh, uh, sort of the, the similarities of the people in terms of this, uh, interest in public policy--


BIRDWHISTELL: --and progressive--


BIRDWHISTELL: --public policy. You know, you, I, I'm, I guess there are mayors out there who sort of think backwards, but I've yet to meet one. I mean, it's a forward-thinking group in a many ways.

HACKWORTH: Well, we're trying to keep you away from anybody that's ----- -----(??) uh, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But, I mean, is that, uh--

HACKWORTH: I, I think--

BIRDWHISTELL: --is that a trait?

HACKWORTH: --you know, if you look at the political process generally, we elect people that represent all facets of society.


HACKWORTH: (clears throat.) So unfortunately we don't always elect the best people in, in every position, but I would say generally the people that run for mayor are people who are very much committed to trying to, uh, make their community a better place. There are exceptions--



HACKWORTH: --but I, I really think that's their, generally their top agenda item, um, and I think that it's amazing to me that there are people willing to put up with what you have to put up with.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, see, I think that, uh, I was talking to Sylvia once about it, and, and the fact that, uh, uh, the mayors' elections oftentimes aren't based on political parties and--

HACKWORTH: Right. Most of them are not--

BIRDWHISTELL: --and that pay is so crummy--


BIRDWHISTELL: --it's gotten better, but this generation I've been interviewing, when you all took office, I mean, you, you weren't in it for the money.


BIRDWHISTELL: And, uh, so I think all of those, the, things, uh, sort of, uh, flow into those characterizations that, I mean, you'd have to be, I mean, if you're not doing it for the money, you have to have an interest in your community, it seems like.

HACKWORTH: I think so--


HACKWORTH: --and I think that's mostly what, what, what drives them and, uh, uh, we just, you know, I think we're lucky as a state to have, well, 117:00you know, we've got three hundred some-odd cities that we're lucky to have that many people that are willing to, uh, uh, step forward--


HACKWORTH: --and do this kind of work.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do the dirty work. (laughs)

HACKWORTH: Work has to be done or, or we won't make it as a state, I can tell you.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. Well, thanks for sharing your, uh, memories. I appreciate it, and I've enjoyed it.

HACKWORTH: Well, I have, too. Thank you.

[End of interview.]

Search This Transcript