The local perspective
by Chelsea Gilman
It’s not Buena Vista, it’s “Byoona Vista,” and if you are going to come to this city you’d better get it right.In the little community locals also know as B.V., most of the people you meet have grown up here.
But some see that closeness and sense of pride as an obstacle to dealing with problems the city faces. City historian Francis Lynn has noticed an attitude that many B.V. locals feel when nearby and better-known Lexington comes into the conversation. “There’s always been a big competition and a big… ‘Lexington people we always thought didn’t like us and they thought they were better than we were,’” Lynn says.
Longtime resident John Douglas sees no reason for B.V. to put any focus on Lexington. He thinks people wanting the city to become like someplace else is what has gotten it into its current economic struggles.
“Buena Vista to me always wanted to be a copycat. Lexington had a golf course, so Buena Vista wanted one,” Douglas says.
Kim Gilbert, owner of Expressions Hair Salon, has always been proud of how her community comes together. To Gilbert, it is the city’s small size that keeps everyone so close and makes her happy to call it home. “I know that I have support here if me or my family ever needed it,” Gilbert says.
But residents who moved to the city later in life say they have a hard time feeling part of the community.
Phil Floyd moved to B.V. when he was 23. Now 55, he still remembers how he was viewed by some of the locals. One instance he remembers vividly was when he tried to warn his neighborhood that the nearby college planned to build a competitive horse arena. Floyd was convinced that the size of the arena would have an impact on the neighborhood.
“There was a neighbor who didn’t live very far from me who found out what I was doing and she confronted me in the street,” Floyd recalls.
Deb Bollinger, owner of The Amish Cupboard on Beech Avenue, lives in the county with her husband but has discovered ways to stay involved in the Buena Vista community. She says she became aware of how close the community was as soon as she moved to B.V. four years ago.
She and her husband have found charity events to be a helpful way to get involved.
“You need to be involved in the community, and the way we stayed involved is more through nonprofits,” says Bollinger.