Shepherdsville, Kentucky – Bullitt County

May 26, 2023
Shepherdsville, Kentucky - Bullitt County

Shepherdsville, Kentucky

a family-friendly community through and through


Putting the residents first, Shepherdsville, Kentucky embraces continued growth and economic expansion

Celebrating the rich Kentucky traditions of bourbon and horses, Shepherdsville is a city with a new vision, focused on quality-of-life amenities for all. Located only 15 minutes south of Louisville, the community was established in 1793, when many were attracted to the area for the natural resources of Bullitt’s Lick on the Salt River, leading to a booming salt industry in the city’s early history.

With a population of 14,300, the Shepherdsville of today is a hub of distribution centers, home to major names such as UPS, Amazon, Johnson and Johnson, and Best Buy, due to a prime position on Interstate 65 and proximity to the Louisville Airport, creating an ideal situation that allows goods to travel to 70% of the U.S. within one day.

Catering to the more than half a million cars that travel the I-65 daily has been a long-time focus of the city, attracting plenty of fast-food restaurants. Although this is a major source of employment and revenue, it is newly elected Mayor Jose Cubero’s goal to enhance the options for residents of Shepherdsville, attracting new shopping and dining options.

He shares, “I ran on a campaign of improving the quality of life for our families, and that meant having things for us here. To do this, we’re going to invest $30 million into the city.” This investment will be directed to three distinct areas, the revitalization of Shepherdsville Park, the renewal of the downtown core, and the building of a brand-new aquatic center.

The park improvements will include a new amphitheater on the river, and new soccer fields, along with disk golf, football, a 5k track, and walking trails. Downtown enhancements will bring the addition of a town square, and beautification upgrades such as traditional lamp posts, flower planters, and benches, all of which will add to the welcoming charm of this area. The aquatic center will feature indoor and outdoor facilities to be used by the community and the local schools.

“We’ve lacked a lot of things here, and so the process of doing the $30 million was the way to accelerate what we want to see happen in the first three to four years, versus trying to piecemeal it which would take 10 or 12 years,” asserts Cubero.

“We are beautifying our city. We’re putting beautiful signs out to welcome people into this community. When people come driving through our park, or through our downtown area, and then they see this aquatic center that we’re building for families, we want them to see themselves living here. That’s what we’re really trying to push for because we need to believe that our city can grow. With this investment, cleaning up the city, working on things together here, we feel like in the next three or four years we’re going to have a city we all can be proud of.”

Shepherdsville, Kentucky - Bullitt County

Currently, there is an effort to attract full-service restaurants, and more diverse retail offerings to the community. “Shepherdsville probably holds the record for the number of fast-food restaurants in a square mile,” quips the mayor.

He adds that it would be ideal to have more options like Hobby Lobby, Target, or Kohl’s, as well as local small business options. “If we’re thinking about things for families, it costs money to drive 30 or 40 minutes away to go to a nice restaurant or to do some shopping. We’ve got a potential community that would support those things here. Shepherdsville is the county seat for Bullitt County, and because of that, we want to make sure that all the surrounding areas come to us to spend the revenue dollars, we want the dollars to stay here. Those dollars are then just going to be cyclical, put back into the city in beautification, better drainage, and improved roads.”

Incentivizing and encouraging entrepreneurship and small business is a priority for Cubero, who notes that 80% of the business in the U.S. is small business. He says, “We always seem to incentivize the warehouses and the big companies, but I’m a firm believer that we should be incentivizing, maybe cutting occupational tax, for a small business for five years, and giving them an opportunity to get on their feet. So, if there is a local business that wants to come, they’re on top of my list, because that’s what we want to support.”

Of course, Shepherdsville is continuously grateful for the valuable partnerships they have with the big companies that are part of the city, and the contributions they are making to the community. “We’re talking about trying to build a baseball complex here so we can have tournaments and bring people to our city, and that’s going to take private investment,” Cubero admits.

“We have a really nice group of larger companies that we feel are looking for opportunities to invest in us because they want to be able to do something to better the life for the people who work in their facilities.” Other crucial relationships include those with the bourbon industry, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, and Four Roses, all within 20 minutes of Shepherdsville and all supportive of ongoing fundraising efforts in the city. Republic Services, who provide trash removal also recently reached out to discuss ways to invest in the community.

Shepherdsville, Kentucky - Bullitt County

Youth sports and other family activities such as bowling and a movie theater are priorities going forward, with the mayor reporting that T ball, basketball, and softball have already been brought back into the community, saving residents the travel to neighboring areas for these activities. A rarely used basketball court inside of city hall has been reinvented as a resource for basketball camps, which are offered to residents free of charge.

“In the fall, we’re actually going to put in basketball leagues for different age groups, again at no charge. When you consider the cost of gas and eggs and utilities, a lot of families can’t afford to put their kids in recreational sports. We wanted to find ways to offset some of these rising costs that we’ve seen over the last couple of years. So, we’re excited,” he relays. Shepherdsville is not lacking in recreational opportunities, with beautiful hiking and biking trails like Floyds Fork and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and a variety of green spaces and parks to choose from.

“The city is also 10 minutes from the Bernheim Forest, a source of hiking and outdoor exploration, and is home to Heritage Hill public golf course, one of the best in the state. As for tourism, Cubero says, “We have some beautiful wineries here in our county, and a lot of tourism is centered around the bourbon industry. We’ve got a bourbon experience here that is second to nobody. The history of it alone is something to enjoy. We are also a part of the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby each year, as a lot of the surrounding areas of Louisville celebrate that big event,” he adds.

Infrastructure improvements are ongoing in Shepherdsville, and connectivity is top of mind. According to Cubero, the first order of business is sidewalks, which the city lacks. Along with that, improvements to trails and bike paths will further connect the community and encourage active transportation. Along with that, the city is working to combat drainage, which is a serious issue considering 65% of the community is in a floodplain.

“Anything construction-wise, has to be raised in order to actually meet FEMA standards,” says Cubero.

“We know that we have to be creative in what we build, so it’s sustainable.” Traffic congestion is another concern, and the goal is to build a second bridge over the Salt River to help navigate this. Cubero elaborates, “State Road 61 is the only artery to get out of the city that’s not 30 minutes away, either east or west when traffic hits I-65. It’s not only bad for interstate traffic, but it locks the city up. We need that connectivity so that we have another outlet to be able to move traffic when something happens on the interstate.”

Some creative solutions in terms of traffic patterns will also help to keep the industrial areas of the city moving, without disruption to the daily life of the community. Increased housing inventory is also a must as the city moves forward, with a focus on diverse options for young families to grow into.

As for what comes next, Mayor Cubero remarks that potential businesses are already seeing the public investment in the city and noticing the potential. Highlighting the steady focus on the quality of life improvements and small business attraction, he concludes “What we’ve learned is, a lot of people are moving away from the bigger cities. They get better value living 20 minutes away from the big city. We believe that the growth is going to be out there, and in the next 10 years we could easily double in size because we are going to be that family-friendly community.”

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Shepherdsville, Kentucky

What: A well-travelled city on I-65, bringing quality-of-life improvements to residents

Where: Bullitt County, Kentucky



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