Check any of Kaufman's local restaurants, shops, or parks and a certain hard-to-find charm is apparent. There's a down-home way about folks rarely found these days, especially in larger cities. Yet Kaufman has maintained a high quality of living through the years.
Former Mayor Dr. William Fortner's wife, Norma, is from Kaufman, however, that was not the reason the couple located their family here nearly four decades ago. Instead, opportunity knocked. Dr. Fortner chose to leave Dallas to join a solid group of local physicians.
"Six years later, we got Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital," he said. "Very few towns the size of Kaufman have a hospital, and it's a quality hospital, too. I'm real proud of it. Kaufman is a small town, so you get to know a lot of people. You go to the store and you don't know anyone in a big city.
I go to the store here and I know all kinds of people. We have good schools and the low crime rate is a big deal." Twenty-three year resident Barry Ratcliffe who serves on the Kaufman City Council and the Kaufman Economic Development Corporation said the city's size and all that comes along with it lured his family east.
"What attracted me was its small town atmosphere and the school system, because I had school-aged children at the time," he explained. "I'm from a small town, so it had everything I was looking for and everything was close. We just like the quiet and closeness of the community."
Parks and schools often are the signifiers of a great community and Kaufman is no different, with a celebrated school district and much-used sports complex along State Highway 34.
"The Kaufman Independent School District is an outstanding school system, boasting not only academics, but an award-winning marching band, state-champion cross country team and stellar programs in all arts and athletics," Glasscock said.
As far as higher education goes, Trinity Valley Community College's school of nursing Kaufman campus trains hundreds of nurses every year and partners with Texas Health Presbyterian right next door. Glasscock pointed out that Kaufman also is a Certified Retirement Community, designated by the Texas Department of Agriculture. We were the 35th city in the state to be designated as such. This designation means that we have all the amenities, conveniences and the way of life that retirees look for. The State of Texas has Kaufman highlighted as a great place to move on their website and in their marketing material.
To help further heighten the quality of living for its residents, the Kaufman Chamber, along with the City of Kaufman and STAR Transit, embarked on a project to provide a fixed bus route in response to the number of citizens observed carrying large parcels on foot from shopping destinations. In October 2011, the project was deemed the best economic development project by a small chamber in the state of Texas.
"The bus was provided by a grant," Glasscock said. "It's a 'green' bus, part electric, part gasoline and was wrapped to look like a trolley. It makes the trip around town every half hour."
The project was so successful, meeting ridership goals that plans are underway to install permanent bus stop signs and an extended route.
Perhaps what makes Kaufman such an ideal location, for work and play, is the evidence of strong community spirit and hard-working citizens and leadership. In his description of how city council and others show commitment to residents and businesses, Councilman Barry Ratcliffe said it best: "We all have the best interest of the community in mind. We discuss issues thoroughly. We try to make the best decisions we can that will affect the residents in a good way and helps move the city forward as we prepare for the future."