Progress comes with sizeable costs

Published 10:35 am Monday, July 3, 2017

Two downtown renovation projects are likely to come with big price tags, but investing in the future has to be considered priceless. 

In the coming weeks, city and county government officials will be faced with tough decisions when it comes to the infrastructure of two buildings that are critical links to Clark County’s past and can be vital to its future. 

Plans to shore up and restore the former Sphar warehouse on Main Street are expected to be bid within the next month.

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The city purchased the 136-year-old building about a year ago with the goal of stabilizing the structure and using it for a welcome center, office space for tourism and economic development and other community-oriented functions.

Exterior renovations are likely to cost well over $1 million with interior work to be that much or more. 

The good news is that nearly $2 million has been pledged for the project between two grants and funds from The Greater Clark Foundation. But more will likely be needed and the city will have to get creative to find funding.

Some say it should be torn down, but that link to our history would be lost forever, as so many others like it already have.

This building could become a critical anchor to the north entrance of downtown, especially when coupled with other efforts to bring back a grocery store, add a distillery and develop more dining options.

Another project that will soon take center stage is the restoration — and ultimately preservation — of the Clark County Courthouse’s clock/bell tower.

The structure has been repaired off and on over the years since it was installed in 1889.

The building creates one of the most iconic images of Winchester and is a beautiful anchor to the downtown. Finding a way to stabilize and preserve this picturesque view is important.

The price tag remains unknown, but the fiscal court will review options in the near future.

Several members, including magistrate Robert Blanton, have publicly voiced their support for this project.

Although we reserve taking a definitive position until we see the final cost, this building is a vital part of our city and our county.

Preserving the past and paving the way for progress is never cheap, but we feel these projects will be important investments into the community’s future.