Not just a farming community anymore

Published 11:07 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

By Will Collins

When I moved to Winchester in 1998, I remember driving up the bypass to the newest Walmart. At that time, the mega-giant seemed out of place, practically alone, surrounded by large fields with a few old barns and many bales of hay.

Fast forward to 2017. The fields are absent; replaced by concrete, houses in subdivisions, new businesses, walking tracks and more. Our once-little town is growing which results in opportunities, but only if we are ready and willing to accept such growth by embracing the reality of the natural progression that is before us.

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Currently in the works is a new sports complex at George Rogers Clark High School. While speaking with some individuals close to the project, I learned the school board has around $21 million to spend on the venue. Obviously, these allocations would create a good complex for the school, as a lot of thought is being put into this, but why stop at just being good enough?

If an additional $8 to $10 million were invested into the planning, so much more could be accomplished that would benefit not only GRC, but our community as a whole. One thought is to create a regional sports complex that would obviously result in a tremendous economic benefit for us all. The location is great, having easy access from Richmond, Lexington, Mount Sterling and all other areas of the state. It’s just a mile from the golf course.

Along with the economic boost, such a facility would be great for our youth and future generations to come. Today more than ever, we need to get them involved in activities that promote health, wellness and accomplishment.

Yes, $10 million is a lot of money, but the results and successful impact can’t be ignored.

The Greater Clark Foundation is currently holding $30 million in its treasury. This would be a great opportunity for the foundation to get involved and provide the school board the additional funds so that we as a community can invest in our future.

The GCF is proposing the building of a park in the former Clark Regional Medical Center site on Lexington Avenue. The same, yet better, accomplishments could be achieved by investing funds for the development of a regional sports complex. Instead of perceiving it as giving $10 million, look at it as investing it in combination with the $21 million dollars the school board has.

On their website, The GCF states it is about “Ambition for Vibrant Community; focused on health, civic and economic vitality, education, well-being and quality of life.”

Such ambition in all aspects would be achieved by joining the vision of developing a sports complex for the entire region.

It’s my understanding Lykins Park has been approached by sports organizations to host events but have been turned down for various reasons. The opportunity is already presenting itself and it’s past time for us to act upon it.

Imagine having such a venue in our community to draw people from all over; people that would come to visit and people that may take up residence in our community. It’s a vision that should be easy to see as part of the big picture because the money is already there. It’s just time to put it together and invest in the people of Clark County.

Let’s face it, traveling athletics are very popular and continue to grow at at an impressive rate. A regional sports complex would draw a lot of various teams from our state and many that surround us. Local businesses, hotels, restaurants, our youth and even the school would see benefits from such a venue.

The time to get on board with this is now. The foundation is in place. Let’s build upon it.

Will Rogers once said, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just set there.”  As a community, we don’t need to set idle on such a great opportunity.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at