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Published on May 28, 2024
Frankfort's Kansas Street Transforms into Pedestrian Paradise for Summer Dining and FestivitiesSource: Google Street View

Frankfort's Kansas Street is set once again to become a no-go zone for cars as local eateries prepare to spill out onto the sidewalks. In an initiative echoing measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic's height, a stretch of the street from Ash to Oak will be pedestrian-only from May 23 through October 24, a move embraced by residents and businesses alike, as per a Patch report.

The closure, which allows for the expansion of al fresco dining, has become a staple of Frankfort’s summer season, bringing with it a flurry of activities and a boost to local commerce. The Village of Frankfort intends to not only foster conviviality but to also temporarily directly connect the eateries to the heartbeat of outdoor socializing. Short-term parking is planned on Ash Street to better accommodate the foot traffic and diner convenience.

In conjunction with the street's closure, improvements in infrastructure and the introduction of new businesses to the historic downtown are on the horizon. According to a Chicago Tribune interview, Frankfort Mayor Keith Ogle noted that grants from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity are paving the way for parking and lighting enhancements valued at $560,000.

The setting is described as something "straight out of a Hallmark movie" by Ogle, with plans that include new parking lots by June 1 to make the downtown area more accessible to a growing number of visitors. Additionally, the summer will welcome various establishments like Senso Sushi and Rustic Knead bolstering the district's offerings and hoping to further augment the town's appeal. Amidst these developments, locals like Chris Hammar, owner of Hammar’s Mercantile, herald the close-knit nature of the area's woman-owned businesses and the collective support they share—one might categorize this synergy as a small town's heartbeat steadily strengthening with every new venture.

Festivities aren’t taking a back seat either, with the Concerts on the Greens and the famed Frankfort Fall Festival set to draw in crowds. These events promise to enrich the lives of those who live both within and beyond Frankfort's bounds, an affirmation according to Jesse Herder, the director of events with the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce, who detailed the anticipated attendance to the Chicago Tribune on these gatherings. As summer beckons, Frankfort readies to not just welcome back the sun but to rekindle the spirit of community in an atmosphere crafted for memory-making and the simple joy of gathering.