Wilmore ranks highest in Kentucky towns according to Reader’s Digest
Jessamine County is now home to the best town in Kentucky, according to Reader’s Digest.
Wilmore is home to four schools, two of which are places of higher education; Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary, which are located across the street from each other. Other schools include Wilmore Elementary and The Providence School.
Receiving the honor in May, Mayor Harold Rainwater said his goal is to keep Wilmore just the way it is. For some, Rainwater said Wilmore is just another small Kentucky town, although he views it as a modern Mayberry from the 1960s TV show “The Andy Griffith Show.” Rainwater’s desire is to keep Wilmore on the map and alive in the modern world.
“We value what small-town America is about: God and country, flags and flower baskets, Fourth of July parades, Veterans Day parades, Old Fashioned Christmas, festivals and Music on the Green,” Rainwater said.
Among the many residents who are not surprised Wilmore was honored with the award is Joseph Grammel.
“Wilmore captures the essence of charm and convenience,” Grammel said. “Located just 20 minutes away from Lexington, it is centrally located yet still allows for the hometown feel that a small town provides.”
For such a small town, Rainwater suggests the spotlight can have a big impact.
“The positive recognition is always good for a small town,” Rainwater said. “We have a nice community and appreciate others observing that too.”
Both longtime residents and newcomers to Wilmore have said they understand and appreciate the small-town atmosphere. Among them are Don and Devon Roxberry who moved to Wilmore in June from their home in Lexington.
“Our strongest pull to Wilmore was the people we have met through the years at the Wilmore Free Methodist Church,” Devon said. “My husband graduated from Asbury and has made lots of connections through his college days. The small-town feel appeals to us. We went to our first ever Wilmore Fourth of July parade and campground activities. We had a wonderful time there and then enjoyed fellowship with friends at a home in Wilmore. After a week in our new home, we feel right at home.”
For the Roxberrys, the move has been all about the people.
“It has been everything and more than we expected,” Devon said. “We have many thank-you notes to write to those who made us feel so welcome.”
Rainwater, who has served as mayor for 42 years, said one of the criteria for becoming the best town in the state is the town’s stance concerning the war on substance abuse.
“We are strong in law enforcement and had a local druggist help with Narcan,” Rainwater said. “We also had a national conference on drug addiction.”
Helping to fight the war on substance abuse is the Wilmore Police Department, which Rainwater said has grown, although he remembers just how small it was many years ago.
“We had two police when I was a boy and my dad was one of them,” Rainwater said. “Today, we have nine full- time (officers).”