Historic Preservation Commission awards local people, projects

Published 10:04 am Thursday, May 30, 2019

Five Clark County projects took home preservation awards Tuesday night at the Leeds Center for the Arts.

In the past three years, the Winchester Historic Preservation Commission and the Clark County-Winchester Heritage Commission have honored nearly 30 projects or people for their work in the community.

WHPC chair J.R. Wilhite said there are six project categories (residential rehabilitation, commercial rehabilitation, interior rehabilitation, site rehabilitation, new construction or special project) and two for individuals (champion and craftsperson).

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“We’re doing great things in our community,” Wilhite said during the awards ceremony. “That’s our purpose for being here. We recognize that historic preservation is a continuous process … As long as there are individuals who have the vision to look at a property, and who take the time and who put the resources and invest in making that a useful site, a useful building, then our community is much better off for it.

“And that’s why we want to recognize folks.”

A committee sets the criteria, beginning in January and opens it to the public for nominations. To win, groups or individuals must have completed the project within the last 24 months, he said. When the committee receives all of the nominations, the committee visits the sites and makes recommendations for winners.

“We don’t ask how much money you spent,” Wilhite said. “We simply listen to the story about, ‘well this happened with the roof, this happened to the foundation, and this went there.’”

Wilhite previously told The Sun the preservation awards started as a strategic planning exercise; the Heritage Commission wanted to identify ways to educate the broader community about good preservation practices.

Winners are:

— Clark County Fiscal Court, 34 S. Main St., for its replacement of the iconic clock tower (special project)

— Gary Hess for the Carriage Shop, 20 Court St. (commercial rehabilitation)

— Perry Williams and Vic Bloomfield, for StrengthFix, 5 S. Main St. (commercial rehabilitation)

— Will and Sherry Richardson for 31 N. Main St. (commercial and residential rehabilitation)

— Vanessa and Edward Ziembroski for Loma’s at the Opera House, 103 S. Main St. (interior rehabilitation)

The Richardsons and Ziembroskis were repeat winners. This year was also the first time the committee presented an award to a previous building owner.

One theme throughout the ceremony was a callback to how preserving these buildings allows history to remain alive. Williams said he loves hearing about the stories of people who come in, talking about the days when the building was a J.C. Penney.

Richardson agreed.

“One thing about these buildings is people come in all the time like Perry said, and they want to tell you all about their childhood or grandma or grandpa like Mr. Bloomfield said about the tricycles,” he said. “These buildings are … they’re spiritual. And they bring people together.”

At the end of the ceremony, Wilhite asked for one more round of applause.

“We look forward to recognizing more folks as we go forward,” he said.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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