When we think of community needs in Franklin County many ideas come to mind, from a swimming pool to a convention center, and more river development among others. All of these ideas can happen, and the future is full of promise, but we must have a truly community-oriented project that could include not only the city and county but state government and the Kentucky State University (KSU).
That project is a conference center at KSU on Douglas Avenue and East Main Street, where the mechanic building and red barn now stand. Before you give up on this idea, please hear me out. This can be a truly collaborative project. The first partner, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, if an agency within the state government wants to host a conference in our capital city, there is no location suitable for such a meeting. Frankfort does not have a location in the capital city that can host a conference of 300-400 individuals in one room, with a sufficient number of break-out rooms for smaller group discussions. Thus, the state government should have an interest in such a building in Frankfort.
Second, both the city and county governments would have an interest in such a conference center for multiple reasons. The first is economic development, as stated a conference center would allow the state government to hold more small to medium size conferences in Frankfort, thus bringing the participants and their money to Frankfort. The local governments could also utilize the facility for local events.
Third, KSU would use the facility for academic conferences and workshops, as well as the KSU School of Business hosting community business events and business start-up competitions, among other events. This center would be an event space on campus that would also have parking surrounding the building, thus easy access for college and community meetings.
I believe that when the state, city, county, and KSU all work together and collaborate on a project such as a conference center, it can be accomplished. I will work to pull this partnership together.