Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with David Burch, May 13, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:05 - Mayor David Burch's background and the appeal of Scottsville

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Partial Transcript: All right, so, Mayor David Burch, I appreciate you agreeing to be interviewed.

Segment Synopsis: David Burch introduces himself as the mayor of Scottsville, elected via special election in October 2019 where he won a special election to finish the term. He mentions that he is not from a political background, he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, and then was a director of adult education before becoming mayor. Burch describes moving to Scottsville in 1995 from Eastern Kentucky when his USDA office was relocated to Simpson County, and how, economically, the potential in Scottsville is much greater than in the eastern part of the state. Burch talks about how the region's economic infrastructure, vacation appeal and resources for quality of life. Burch describes his philosophy, which is to plan ahead decades into the area's future, to make it appealing to subsequent generations of people.

Keywords: Eastern Kentucky; Rob Cline; USDA

Subjects: Adult education; Commerce; Economic development; Economies; Elections; GED; Infrastructure; Interstate highways; Jails; Mayors; Politics; Retirement; Scottsville (Ky.); Simpson County (Ky.); Transportation; United States. Department of Agriculture.; Vacations

00:04:42 - Scottsville's downtown development projects

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Partial Transcript: I'm on my second day of staying here and interviewing people about Scottsville, and we just ran out between interviews to go get lunch, and that was my first time going into downtown, and it's beautiful.

Segment Synopsis: Burch describes how Scottsville's downtown has benefited from streetscape projects, goals to increase pedestrian traffic. He talks about a mural depicting the town's history.

Keywords: Downtown; Gayle Davis; Streetscape

Subjects: Economic development; History; Infrastructure; Murals; Parks; Scottsville (Ky.); Transportation

00:06:30 - Scottsville's community response to COVID-19

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Partial Transcript: As far as the people are concerned in Scottsville and Allen County, it's amazing, the community spirit.

Segment Synopsis: Burch says the people of Scottsville have amazing community spirit, especially when they are needed, which was exemplified during COVID-19. He talks about how Scott Williams put together a task force of twenty people from all areas of expertise, they met daily and still continue to meet weekly now. Burch describes how he and his daughter participated in local school efforts to deliver meals to students in the county, and how two hundred people per day were involved in the logistics to accomplish.

Keywords: Allen County Health Department; COVID-19; Coronavirus; David Scott Williams

Subjects: Allen County (Ky.); COVID-19 (Disease); Children; Churches; Country life; Disasters; Education; Health; Illness; Internet; Pandemics; Rural health services; School lunches; Scottsville (Ky.); Teachers

00:10:33 - The Heart of Scottsville program's impact

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Partial Transcript: Well, I want to talk to you for hours about that, but--but I'm going to transition and talk a little bit about--you mentioned Heart of Scottsville, talk about what that was, what that is and sort of connect it to history.

Segment Synopsis: Burch talks about the Heart of Scottsville effort initiated by the Turner Foundation, which began as part of the Renaissance program and is now operating under the Main Street program. Burch says he took over in 2015 after the previous director resigned; he lives downtown and it was an opportunity to be involved in promoting economic vitality. He talks about how the program helped local businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. He says he's particularly proud of bringing the farmers' market to the square, which was an effective way of building community locally.

Keywords: Heart of Scottsville Inc; Kentucky Main Street Program; Kentucky Proud; Kentucky Renaissance; Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation; Town squares

Subjects: Design; Disasters; Economic development; Families; Farmers' markets; Historic districts; Infrastructure; Kentucky; Pandemics; Small businesses

00:14:41 - Future uses of the Halcomb house

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Partial Transcript: So we're in the basement of the Halcomb house.

Segment Synopsis: Burch talks about how Joe and Julie Halcomb transferred ownership of their home to the city of Scottsville in 2014. He says that originally the space was going to serve as an event venue, but eventually other ideas were considered. Burch describes how eventually he and the two children created the Halcomb House Foundation, and the city is preparing to transfer ownership to the foundation. He mentions that future uses are still being discussed, but it could become a regional tourism center because of its location and the house will undoubtedly remain a testament to the Halcomb family and their legacy. Burch says that a lot of work went into the National Register status, which also will open up funding opportunities.

Keywords: F. Joseph "Joe" Halcomb, III; Halcomb House Foundation; Julie Halcomb Koch; Julie Koch

Subjects: Funding; Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration.; Historic buildings.; Historic house museums.; Historic preservation; Infrastructure; Legacies; Museums; National Register of Historic Places; Pandemics; Scottsville (Ky.); Tourism

00:20:15 - The Halcomb family's involvement in education

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Partial Transcript: Talk about being--you know, being mayor, talking about tourism, you know--you know, we've done a lot of work with the bourbon industry, the horse industry--one of the things in Kentucky that I think draws people to Kentucky, is a sense of history, connection to history.

Segment Synopsis: Burch says that the Halcomb house's National Register status makes it a significant destination. He talks about how the family itself has a tremendous local history in the community, from their involvement with the school board to Doctor Halcomb's old-school family physician house calls. Burch says Joe and Julie Halcomb recently revived the scholarship, and that his own daughter was the first to win it again.

Keywords: Dr. Francis Joseph "F.J." Halcomb, Jr.; F. Joseph "Joe" Halcomb, III; Julie Halcomb Koch; Julie Koch; Medical care--Kentucky; Physicians--Kentucky; Rural health--Kentucky

Subjects: Allen County (Ky.); Community; Country life; Doctors; Education; Families; Family medicine; Farms; High schools; History; Houses; Kentucky; Legacies; Scholarships; School boards; Simpson County (Ky.); Tourism