Ask Frankfort residents why they like living here, and time and again you'll hear references to the area's high quality of life.
Among the city's assets stated most often are the gracious hospitality of residents, the natural beauty of Elkhorn Creek and the Kentucky River, appreciation of the area's rich heritage, preservation of historical sites and the abundance of cultural offerings. These assets combine to create a sophisticated community that accommodates diverse interests. And yet Frankfort is small enough for everyone to play an important role.
As Kentucky's capital, Frankfort is the center of state government and the state's political life. With these come a lively social season as visitors and dignitaries from around the globe are made welcome. This was certainly the case in 1825 when the Marquis de Lafayette visited, creating quite a stir among the ladies. Since then countless other visitors have included members of Europe's royal families, foreign heads of state as well as U.S. and state leaders.
As host to a number of major manufacturers and many locally owned business enterprises, Frankfort is one of the commonwealth's most important commercial centers.
Fifty miles east of Louisville, 25 miles west of Lexington and 70 miles south of Cincinnati, Frankfort's prime location is a key ingredient in the city's prosperity. So valued is the location, in fact, it's part of what's designated as the Bluegrass state's "Golden Triangle."
As home to Kentucky State University, an active Civic Center and flourishing arts and historical communities, Frankfort is a favorite cultural center for residents throughout the region. "We've always been drawn to Frankfort for the cultural life," said new resident Mike Waford, "Marlyn and I have longed to live here for some time." Mike expressed the sentiments of many residents when he spoke of enjoying neighbors and friends at the summer concert series on the lawn of the Old Capitol. "Those Friday evenings were the highlight of our summer."
Playing a major role in the area's historical community is the Frankfort Heritage Press, which was created to inform Kentuckians about Franklin County's rich history, to build a photographic archive available to all and to publish materials for those who have an interest in recapturing Frankfort's past and preserving its many historical landmarks. The photographic archives repository is located in the Capital City Museum at 325 Ann Street.
Because of Frankfort's convenient location, affordable housing, low crime rate and all the other community assets, it was selected as one of the country's 20 best small cities for living in Kevin Heubusch's The New Rating Guide of Life in America's Small Cities
This selection comes as no surprise to Franklin County Sheriff Ted Collins, who is serving his twentieth year as sheriff. Collins is also a fifth-generation resident and, with his family, lives in a farmhouse built by his great grandfather. According to Collins, the area's low crime rate is no accident. "Frankfort has an excellent police department and a Kentucky State Police post as well as deputy sheriffs who patrol the county 24/7. We're proud of our community, and we all work together to keep it as safe as is humanly possible."
Collins continued, "Also, we're fortunate to have right at our fingertips the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab." This means area peace officers can avail themselves of the lab's advanced technical resources with a mere 15-minute drive. "It's a tremendous asset to both solving and preventing crime."
Frankfort was selected as one of the country's 20 best small cities for living in Kevin Heubusch's The New Rating Guide of Life in America's Small Cities.
Another county official who is a lifelong resident is Judge Executive Bob Roach, who said, "Franklin County's number one asset is its people, who are well educated and interested in their community and its projects. We're also fortunate to live in a county with such beauty and historic character. And as the center of state government, Franklin County is provided with a large base of employment that gives residents a variety of career opportunities."
For residents who desire the option of living in a gated community, the Frankfort County Club offers its beautiful Two Creeks, where homes are scattered throughout the club's golf course and wooded acreage.
A favorite among Frankfort residents and visitors alike is the thriving downtown area with its eclectic mix of shops offering antiques, fine furniture, unique gifts and apparel for all ages. Nestled among these are restaurants, sandwich and coffee shops and nightspots featuring live entertainment. Within minutes of downtown you can enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of wooded areas and palisades along the Kentucky River and Elkhorn Creek.
In Frankfort, the quality of life is high, and lifestyle options are varied and many. But whether you find yourself enjoying friends on a houseboat moored along the banks of the Kentucky River or you're engaged in a lively sidewalk conversation, politics and college basketball vie for top spot as favorite spectator sport and conversation topic. Whichever you pick, once you make your home here you'll find yourself agreeing with Frankfort Mayor Bill May, who said, "There's no better place to live, work and raise a family. Frankort just keeps getting better and better!"
Since the 1930s, area residents have enjoyed the pleasure of serving their families fresh-from-the-field produce purchased for years from local farmers selling from tents and tailgates.
Originally known as the Homemaker's Curb Garden, today's Farmers Market is located at River View Park in a new open-air pavilion encompassing over 5,000 square feet of space. The pavilion is designed to match the park's gazebo and adds a sense of permanency to the once makeshift market.
"This is quite a change from all the years growers set up tents on market days and then had to worry about wind, rain or the hot sun," said Edie Greer, county extension agent for horticulture. The pavilion also provides electricity, making refrigeration easily accessible for both produce growers and meat producers.
All produce sold at the market is grown in Franklin County or one of its six surrounding counties. And according to Greer, the pavilion's 28 slots are in high demand.
May through October, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays vendors open at 8 a.m. and stay until sold out. Market days are filled with an air of festivity, giving shoppers the added value of running into friends and neighbors while filling their bags with farm-fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, watermelons, pumpkins, peppers, apples, herbs, honey, meat products, flowers and many other seasonal delights.