By Maria B. Russell
Although the majority of Christian County’s residents are homegrown — that is, born and raised here like generations before them — there is a fair number of residents who are like me, a
My husband and I moved to Hopkinsville in October 2008. With a history of moving just about every five years or so because of his job, I consider myself qualified to objectively compare Hopkinsville to the 13 places I have called “home,” such as small towns like Newton, Alabama, where the population was 1,500, and big cities, like Washington, D.C., Pensacola, Florida and San Diego.
While at times the grass may appear to be greener on the other side, the reality is that every place has its good points and its bad points. Both natives and transplants may lament that the addition of this or that would make our city better, but one fact remains: Hopkinsville is the fastest growing city in the state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
All things considered, my opinion is that Hopkinsville is a better-than-average place to live, and here are just a few reasons why:
1. This is a relatively safe place to live. While no place is immune to crime, violent crime here is low. Military families cite Hopkinsville’s small town atmosphere and close-knit community as being two of the reasons they chose to live here instead of Clarksville.
Linda Ritli, a Florida native who moved here when her husband was transferred to Fort Campbell, feels that Hopkinsville is a safe community, and that their “neighborhood is particularly wonderful because neighbors look out for one another.”
That certainly cannot be said about bigger cities. In fact, another military wife, Mary Migala, described the way her husband would “scout out” possible places to move during the middle of the night. He’d drive to a neighborhood they liked and just sit in his parked car, waiting to see how long it took the neighbors to call the police.
In Hopkinsville, it took 15 minutes for a squad car to arrive. It was a different story in Clarksville where the police never showed up, but a prostitute and a drug dealer did.
2. Getting involved in one’s community, both large and small, is probably the easiest way to meet people and potential friends. Both service work and active participation contribute greatly to one’s sense of belonging.
In Hopkinsville, there are quite a few local civic groups and clubs to consider, like Rotary, Modernettes, Kiwanis, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Pioneers, Knights of Columbus and Hopkinsville-Christian County Newcomers Club, just to name a few.
Athletic types have options, like the Little River Cycling Club or the vast variety and levels of programs at the YMCA, just to name a couple. Churches and non-profits are other avenues to consider.
3. Both natives and transplants nearly always agree that, in a perfect world, Bradford Square Mall would have 100 percent occupancy and our downtown district would attract more shopping venues.
The bottom line, though, is that we really do have everything we need here in Hopkinsville. And even if a trip to Clarksville or Nashville is necessary, just how long does it take? Pity those millions of Americans who have to factor rush-hour traffic in their daily commutes.
Look on the bright side of not being in a town inundated with big box stores and one strip mall after another. That means less traffic, less stress, less road rage and less pollution, which brings me to why many transplants have chosen Hopkinsville: location, location, location!
4. In addition to four distinct seasons, we have 13 neighborhood parks, a water park, a new 5K rail trail, a scuba diving facility, agri-tourism and plenty of places to walk, hike and bike. The city council has also opened talks about building a skate park.
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy three state parks. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park and the unrivaled Mammoth Cave National Park are all very easy to get to in a day.
And within a four-hour drive are the totally different worlds of Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Cincinnati and St. Louis. This makes Hoptown’s location premier because here it is so easy to “get away” without going far.
5. The continuing creation of more jobs and other opportunities ensure that more and more people will learn about Hopkinsville and move here. Chic-fil-A, Teletech and Logan’s have opened within the past year. There’s even buzz about Texas Roadhouse making its way to town.
Considering all of the improvements being made, both to its infrastructure and aesthetics, Hopkinsville seems to be on the brink of a golden opportunity to redefine itself. It really is a nice place to call “home.”