Frankenmuth Heart & Soul Frequently Asked Questions

What is Frankenmuth Heart & Soul?

It is a two year engagement process, being undertaken by the community to ensure all residents have a voice in the future development of our entire community. The project begins with discussing what community members love about Frankenmuth and why we choose to live here. This helps the community develop central themes that represent the “heart & soul” of Frankenmuth, i.e.; our commonly held concerns, values and aspirations.

By identifying shared community values and recommended actions to inform local, community driven and government efforts, we will be able to maintain what we love about Frankenmuth while providing for improvements and change when and where needed.

Expected outcomes include:

·        A more unified community, where everyone feels valued and respected

     New opportunities for different segments of our community to work together, foster new relationships, and increase mutual understanding

·         A vision for the future based on our community values

There may be other outcomes of Heart & Soul – but that really depends on what community members say they find important – YOU will decide.

How do I get involved?
Anyone can be involved! The forms below are for those who want to share their story, interview, or analyze stories. Please download the form and follow the instructions. You can turn them in via email to or to City Hall.

How is the project funded?

The project is receiving staff support from the City of Frankenmuth. The Frankenmuth Community Foundation and the Orton Family Foundation are also providing grant dollars to help pay for meeting expenses, supplies and other needed items.

What is the Orton Family Foundation and why are they involved in Frankenmuth?

The Orton Family Foundation was founded in 1995 by Lyman Orton and Noel Frizinger, both residents of Weston, Vermont, population 630. Orton and his three sons are proprietors of the Vermont Country Store.  Mr. Orton was serving on his small town’s Planning Commission during a growth boom in the 1980’s, and was disappointed to find the Commission did not have the right tools and community participation to ensure good decisions and outcomes.

Feeling that small towns are special places that should never find themselves unprepared and lacking the information and tools needed to protect their character while continuing to grow and change in positive directions, Lyman and Noel established the Orton Family Foundation – an organization that would develop tools and resources to help small communities decide how they wanted to grow and implement policies to ensure that they work toward a shared community vision.

How did we end up getting involved in Heart and Soul?

Bridget Smith, the City Manager for the City of Frankenmuth, had worked with the Orton Family Foundation and some of the tools it offered to Planning Commissions to help inform community decision making. She had been following the process through newsletters and has heard their presentations at conferences. Although she has long been a resident of Frankenmuth, when she became City Manager she noticed an opportunity to improve communication between and among different groups of residents and stakeholders to help improve mutual understanding. With the imminent need to update the City and Township Master Plan, engaging the whole community seemed to make sense, and so she began to reach out to other interested parties including the Township, the Chamber of Commerce, the School District and the Frankenmuth Community Foundation.

Who will be involved in Frankenmuth Heart & Soul?

A key goal for the project is to involve as many people as possible in the Frankenmuth community, so we hope that everyone will be involved, at some time, to some degree, during the two year process. Opportunity for involvement ranges from simply showing up and sharing your ideas and opinions at a Heart and Soul event to helping organize the actual events. If you’re interested in helping to organize an event – or even hosting a neighborhood event for your friends or you just want more information, contact us at: