Straub: What is it about Butler?
What is it about Butler?
When I was asked to prepare this column about why folks make Butler their home when they have any number of options in southwestern Pennsylvania, the answer is much more complex than it once was.
Years ago, the answer was simple — in a word TAXES. Butler has always had a much more affordable tax structure than Allegheny County, for example. Even today there is significant difference in the property tax of similar homes in Butler versus Allegheny County.
But today, the answer to the question has many more components. People with families like the rural aspect of our area. They want to put some land around themselves, a commodity much harder to obtain in many of the surrounding communities.
Newcomers love the people. In big cities such as Pittsburgh, it’s hard to know your neighbors. In Butler we take the time to know you.
Before COVID, everyone thought they had to live near the city and spend large chunks of their lives commuting back and forth to work. During COVID, we learned that wasn’t necessarily the case. We were able to break the chains of that anchor and once that anchor was released, folks found they could live anywhere.
That being the case, a person could relocate, and the choice is often Butler. It is close enough to visit their old friends and neighbors, yet remote enough to find the peace they seek.
Our typical buyer transplanting from other places wants a comfortable, affordable home to raise a family in safety. All one needs to do is watch the news each morning, with multiple shootings and mayhem, to see why folks want a place to get away, and Butler is that place.
Historically, Butler is a landmark, rich with history; our industrial heritage is impressive by anyone’s standard. Armco Steel, Bantam car company, Pullman Standard just to name some notables.
People love to live in communities with history. Things that we may take for granted stand out to our newcomers. Unlike many other communities that have buried their past, Butler revels in its.
The Bantam Heritage Jeep Festival, festivities at Pullman Park, the Big Butler Fair are renowned throughout Western Pennsylvania, the downtown Italian festival, the farm show, the North Washington Rodeo — I could go on and on. Butler has not forgotten our past, we celebrate it!
People love our sense of community; it’s what people long for. To know and care about their neighbors, whether it’s a flood downtown or community fundraisers, we are there for each other. That’s impressive for people who haven’t experienced it.
It is always very interesting for us to work with new folks who don’t know much about Butler. I always like to take them on a tour; I guess I’m showing us off, but I usually start with a quick trip around Moraine State Park and Lake Arthur. From there, I hightail it toward downtown, coming down Main Street hill past the cemetery and the sign that says we are a worshiping community.
From that vantage point, you can see the numerous steeples that stand like beacons against the skyline. Next, it’s Diamond Square, surrounded by history, and then across town to the hospital, which usually evokes some comment such as “WOW.”
People generally come to us with the misconception that Butler is a small town, and while we are not Pittsburgh, we aren’t Mayberry either. We have a lot to offer.
From here I generally take my tour to neighborhoods that I think may interest the newcomer. Based upon the price range they tell me they are interested in, I may take them through Timberly Heights or the Hall Plan or bring them through a few of the city neighborhoods.
Then just to put the cherry on top I take them through several of the new construction plans around the area, Shannon Mills or Forest Oaks or Wyncrest, just to let them see that Butler is still on the move. If they need a refreshment, we stop at King Kones for one of their giant-small ice cream cones or perhaps over to Cummings Coffee for a cup of fabulous java.
It is my hope that once I have shown them Butler, they come away with a whole new appreciation for what we have to offer. We are safe, affordable, our schools are fantastic, our people are friendly, the environment is glorious. It is no wonder people want to make Butler their new home, it is just downright groovy!
Gary Straub is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.