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OPINION: Accreditation testament to hard work

Main Street Winchester recently announced its recognition as a nationally accredited Kentucky Main Street program. The recognition is based on the program’s achievements in 2017, and there are many.

While the recognition holds the Main Street Winchester program accountable as it seeks to quantify how the agency is contributing to the community each year, it also opens up new grant opportunities to further its mission in downtown Winchester.

MSW’s goal is to encourage downtown revitalization and economic development within the context of historic preservation. Main Street Winchester is a volunteer-based program, supported by one city staff person.

More importantly, this accreditation further proves there is tremendous work going on in downtown Winchester, and primarily on the part of hardworking and willing volunteers.

Last year, the organization completed many notable projects and worked toward implementing several long-term initiatives. It began the implementation of Ten Priority Recommendations from the Downtown Master Plan, established a Downtown Development Investment Fund through public-private partnerships, and hosted 12 community events from the Christmas Parade to Rock the Block concerts to the Beer Cheese Festival.

Additionally, MSW reported more than $4 million of private investment in downtown Winchester in 2017. MSW’s hard work in 2017 was also recognized at the Kentucky Main Street Awards in January. It received Best Promotional Event for the Downtown Urban Loft Tour, along with its partners. Board member Debra Parr was named volunteer of the year.

And there are already many goals in place for 2018, in addition to the beloved and well-attended downtown events.

The struggles of downtown Winchester are not exclusive to our community. Downtowns across the nation are struggling, but it is encouraging to see that our Main Street Winchester program and the dedicated volunteers are open to new ideas, concepts and ways to adapt to the changing environment in our community.

We congratulate MSW Executive Director Rachel Alexander and the many volunteers thank them for the effort put forth to not only earn this accreditation, which creates new opportunities for our community, but to make Winchester a great place to live, shop, dine and more.

 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. The board is comprised of publisher Michael Caldwell and managing editor Whitney Leggett. To inquire about a meeting with the board, contact Caldwell at 759-0095.