City pledges $100K for downtown investment

Published 10:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2017

The City of Winchester is stepping up to help fund downtown development with a $100,000 pledge for a downtown investment fund.

The Winchester Board of Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously Tuesday, which calls for the city to contribute the funds over the next two years to be used as matching funds.

Creating the development investment fund is one of the action items in the Downtown Master Plan, which was completed earlier this year. Main Street Winchester Executive Director Rachel Alexander said the fund will help encourage development.

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“Providing an incentive to our downtown businesses … will give us that push to move forward,” she said.

The fund would be available to property and business owners to help finance projects like installing a new roof or other repairs needed to bring a building up to code, she said.

Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority Director Todd Denham said the fund is designed to provide partial funding for projects, rather than to pay for the entire thing.

“This is not a free ride for anybody,” he said.

Having funds available may make the difference in whether someone decides to invest in downtown or not, he said.

“This has been requested by members of the community for quite a while now,” he said. “It gives us a guide to address issues moving forward.”

Denham said Winchester’s program will be modeled on those from other cities, including Paducah, where there are financial caps for projects and a very clear application and review process.

Main Street Winchester and the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority have each pledged $50,000 to start the fund, Alexander said. Others are interested in contributing, she said, including at least one private donor.

“We have a pot of money that’s beginning to pool,” she said.

Later in Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners had their first look at a plan to tackle nuisance properties and frequent scenes of crimes.

The city is proposing an amendment to the joint city-county ordinance which would impose fines against property owners after law enforcement officers issued criminal citations three times at a given location.

The proposed amendment is modeled on Lexington’s ordinance, which calls for a fine of $500 to $5,000 after two occasions within 12 months. The specific crimes which would apply include assaults, sexual offenses and prostitution, gambling or controlled substances.

City Attorney Bill Dykeman said Winchester’s ordinance would call for an administrative hearing board to review cases and hear from property owners after they are cited for a third offense.

Dykeman said the ordinance would be presented to the Clark County Fiscal Court, though he expected the county would opt-out of provisions that would not apply.

In other action, the commissioners:

— Approved the promotion of Joy Curtis to city clerk. Curtis will succeed Marilyn Rowe, who is retiring at the end of December.

— Approved out-of-state travel for two firefighters for an arson conference in North Carolina.

— Approved the second reading of ordinances to close Floyd Clay Drive and an unnamed alley near the former Clark Regional Medical Center site.

— Appointed Shawn Weir to a three year term on the Winchester Board of Ethics beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

— Reappointed Roy Hudson, David Lawrence and Todd Blanton to one-year terms on the Winchester Licensing Board beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

— Appointed Ron Tierney to a four-year term on the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority board beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

— Appointed Shane McCaslin to a three-year term on the Winchester Tree Board beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

— Reappointed John Henry Ramsey to a four-year term on the Winchester Tree Board beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

— Authorized the sale of a double-wide mobile home at 498 Market St.

— Approved a bid for fencing on Depot Street.

— Reclassified Geoffrey Breeden from firefighter II/paramedic to firefighter III/paramedic.

— Transferred Steven Bellot and Steven Hardy from patient transfer specialists to single role paramedics.

— Transferred Glendon Robinson from communications officer II to data entry clerk.

— Terminated patient transfer specialists Courtney Harrison, Nina Hawkins, Jennifer Nalley and Kom Osborne.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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