Chuck Witt: Intersection shaping up after demolitions
Published 1:39 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Well, the ugly old two-story, concrete block building at the southwest corner of Maple and Washington is finally gone, along with the long-unused single-story building located behind it next to the fire station.
For far too long, those buildings have presented a horrible milieu to everyone driving into the downtown area from the north.
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Now the community can look forward to seeing a new — and most likely well-designed — building going up on that corner to house Kentucky Bank, which is vacating its place at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Maple Street, where a new CVS pharmacy will eventually locate.
A new bank at the corner will do much to improve the landscape there and may serve as an incubator to other businesses to locate in the area.
Future plans for the immediate area should include efforts to remove, replace and improve the other three corners at Maple and Washington.
Granted, there are thriving businesses located at each of these corners, but the buildings in which they are located are either poorly designed or terribly out-of-date. And one of the businesses should be located in a light industrial zone, not in the immediate downtown area.
The small building on the northwest corner has served many uses over the years, but it has definitely outlived its useful life and is an intrusion on an otherwise very nice park and open space.
Additionally, there are two large billboards at the north face of that building and they, too, should, eventually be removed.
The Williams Agency, located on the northeast corner, is a thriving business and it is good to see its building being put to good use after having had several tenants since its construction. But the building itself is not especially nice architecturally and the site has no amenities to enhance it, especially planting and screening.
It is always good to see buildings occupied and being used, but much can be done to further improve this intersection and efforts have been underway for several years to try to upgrade the area, mostly with the control of signage and the improvement of landscaping.
Heritage Park was a vast improvement there; if it could be expanded all the way to the intersection, a further improvement would take place.
The activity taking place at this intersection is illustrative of behind-the-scenes development that is constantly taking place, not only in downtown, but in the entire business community.
Concurrently, the Paul Miller car lot on the Bypass has closed, leaving a sea of empty asphalt and buildings which could be advantageously used by some other enterprise. The old service station opposite Lowe’s has been demolished to make way for new retail in the area.
There are still many empty storefronts available throughout the community. Eventually businesses will be found to fill them as growth and development continues.
Development at the intersection of Maple and Washington is great news for Winchester and the spur to business it will create is much to anticipate.
Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.