The city of Bullard was recently in the spotlight, as the Smith County Commissioners Court highlighted Bullard as a part of the court’s Connecting Communities initiative.
As a part of the Connecting Communities initiative, Moran wants to build awareness about each city and their leaders, celebrate their achievements, and increase communication and cooperation between local governments to better serve Smith County residents.
“We are excited to build stronger relationships with city leaders throughout Smith County, said Judge Moran. “We want to affirmatively reach out to citizens of Smith County, to hear from them about what is working and what needs to improve in county government, so that we can continue to be attentive to the needs of our citizens. Across the board, we want to hear from [them] and listen to [them].”
The new initiative from the Smith County Commissioners Court was initially announced and discussed during a meeting in the month of April. Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said that cities within Smith County would be periodically highlighted during Commissioners Court meetings over the next year.
Municipalities within Smith County include Tyler, Lindale, Whitehouse, Arp, Troup, Bullard, Winona, New Chapel Hill, Noonday, Overton and Hideaway.
According to a press release sent out by the Smith County Commissioners Court, “Connecting Communities” is part of a larger initiative to engage in “County Conversations” over the next several months, allowing commissioners to hear from all constituents, civic leaders, businesses, nonprofit groups and others.
Through the new initiative, city leaders are invited to represent their communities and be recognized in front of the Smith County Commissioners Court, and also give presentations about their city, providing information about the state of each city and future plans.
Bullard Mayor Pam Frederick and City Manager Jay Abercrombie were invited by commissioners represent the city of Bullard during the regular scheduled weekly meeting of the Smith County Commissioners Court, held Tuesday, June 27.
“The City of Bullard understands the importance of having great working relationships with neighboring entities such as Bullard ISD, The Brook Hill School, and others, and Smith County is no exception to that,” said Abercrombie. “We continue to have constant dialogue with the Commissioners Court on many issues and have worked on numerous inter-local agreements over the years to help in varying needs of our community. When the invite came from them to have the Mayor update them on what is taking place in our city, we definitely didn't want to miss the opportunity. We are grateful to Judge Moran, Commissioner Jeff Warr, and the entire Commissioners Court for our ongoing relationship and opportunity to work together for our growing needs.”
During the meeting, Precinct 1 Commissioner Warr introduced Mayor Frederick as a 24 year resident of the city of Bullard, having served as mayor for seven years and as a councilwoman for eight years prior.
“When she moved to Bullard, Pam saw some things, like most of us in government, that she thought that could be done better,” said Warr. “She got involved and ran... After building a new home 15 years ago, she decided to get involved in the community. We’ve seen great growth in the Bullard area, and since she’s been on the council [and mayor], they’ve upgraded their water, sewer, and utility systems to prepare for the future ahead of them. It’s a pleasure to always go down [to Bullard]. The professionalism in that town on their council is amazing for a small community.”
In kind, Frederick thanked the Smith County Commissioners Court for the opportunity to share information about the city of Bullard with them.
“We appreciate [the court] allowing us to put our little city in the spotlight today; we always like that opportunity,” said Frederick. “We also certainly enjoy the relationship we have with Commissioner Warr. It’s always good to look up and see him walk into our chambers when we’re about to start a meeting because I know he’s going to be there to say good things to us.”
Frederick also presented and informational sheet regarding the city of Bullard to the commissioners, while also presenting several facts about Bullard, as well as ongoing projects around the city.
According to Frederick’s information about the city of Bullard, the city was originally established in 1867 and known as Etna and was centered around the railroad, with the existing railroad track bed still in the middle of downtown Bullard presently.
In 1881, the town was renamed Hewsville and later became Bullard in 1883, named after John H Bullard, a confederate soldier who opened a post office in his store after the Etna post office closed.
Although officially becoming Bullard in 1883, the town did not have a city council established until 1948.
From 2000 to 2010, the city of Bullard experienced a 114 percent increase in its population, and is currently on track to have nearly the same increase by the next Census. In the past seven years alone, the city has grown by 62.4 percent, to about 4,000 residents.
According to Frederick, the city of Bullard has taken steps to prepare the city for the large growth numbers, including drilling a second water well in the last 15 years, allowing the city more capacity for water in the future.
Frederick also spoke highly of the two educational facilities that call Bullard home, saying that the city’s growth recently is attributed to the quality of education afforded to children attending Bullard ISD and The Brook Hill School.
“We’re in the business of not creating our growth, but managing the growth that is coming into our city because of Bullard ISD and Brook Hill,” said Frederick. “Bullard ISD encompasses a total of 86 square miles, which, in itself, can create a bit of a challenge for that district. They’ve had an average yearly growth of four percent consistently for about 16 years now and is one of the fastest growing school districts; we’re trying to figure out [as a city] how to proactively manage and prepare for that growth. One of the shining stars in Bullard is The Brook Hill School, [with] 665 enrolled students currently. They started out as a one-building vision of [Brook Hill founder] Steve Dement at one point. The school now has domestic and international boarding students, and [Brook Hill] continues to grow and add to their campus.”
Additionally, Frederick shared with commissioners her thoughts on having the American Freedom Museum in her city, saying the museum’s collection is worth the trip to the city of Bullard.
“If you have not had the pleasure of being there, you need to take the time to come see it,” said Frederick. “If you call me, I’ll be glad to come and I think I could be a tour guide because I’ve been there so many times. It started out as [Dement’s] personal collection and has displaying detailing every war and conflict America has been involved in. It also has something in writing from every single president, and even a lock of George Washington’s hair. It’s definitely worth seeing.”