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City approves street closure for arts festival, night market

Plans for a fall arts festival and a night market in downtown Winchester are moving ahead after the city approved street closure requests for both events.

The Winchester Arts Guild has been planning a downtown festival for Oct. 3, which would be followed that evening by another event by Engine House Deli owner Chad Walker.

Guild President Elizabeth Chalfant said she was planning an event with 50 vendors appropriately spaced along Main Street.

When the original plan did not receive the support of the Clark County Health Department, Chalfant reorganized so there would be five clusters of 10 vendors each spread through downtown.

Chalfant said her original plan would be less people-dense than the second; she anticipated it will be spaced like the farmers’ market.

“I know we wont have a Beer Cheese (Festival) type crowd,” she said. “I think downtown needs something.”

Most events, including the Beer Cheese Festival, have been canceled because of public health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Commissioner Kitty Strode said the Main Street Winchester Board still hopes to have one Rock the Block concert this summer.

Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the city only approved street closures, not events.

The street closure request was approved unanimously.


Bell’s Alley closed to traffic

Later in the meeting, the commissioners voted in support of a request from Central Baptist Church officials to close Bell’s Alley, which runs between the church and its parking lot.

Church member and trustee chair Mark Simpson said the alley has been a traffic concern for several years, whether on Sunday mornings or during the week when the church’s preschool was open.

More recently, he said there was an intoxicated driver whose vehicle actually struck the church building itself.

“We saw that become a big safety factor,” Simpson said.

The request would be to close the alley from Lexington Avenue to Gay Street, which is the width of the church property. Initially, Simpson said the church would install gates at either end. Eventually, the church would convert it to green space at either end of the alley.

Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the city approved a similar request years ago from Trinity United Methodist Church

The commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the request, pending legal approval. Commissioner Shannon Cox abstained, saying he is still officially a member of Central Baptist though he has not attended there in years.


In other business

In other action, the commissioners:

— approved an order to transfer ownership of 337 Hill St. to Kentucky Fertilizer LLC.

— awarded bids for the fiscal year 2021 paving program and crack and seal program.

— approved a memorandum of agreement with the Kentucky League of Cities for professional services to review the city’s personnel policies.

— accepted the resignations of firefighter III/EMTs Christopher Hall and Matthew Bowling.

— accepted the resignation of patient transfer specialist/paramedic John Oliver.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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