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Work begins on sidewalk repairs in downtown

Work on downtown Winchester’s crumbling sidewalks is moving ahead, with a goal of finishing by the end of the year, weather permitting.

Interim Winchester City Manager Mike Flynn said crews were pouring a handicap accessible ramp on the “high side” of the Main Street and Lexington Avenue this week. Other target areas include a ramp in front of the McEldowney Building on Cleveland Avenue, to replace crumbling steps, and a section across from the Clark County Courthouse.

Reworking the sidewalks in downtown was part of the downtown master plan completed a couple of years ago, which envisioned, among other things, reworking the sidewalks on the high side of the street to make them more accessible and usable.

Originally, the bids for the project came in at $298,000, but the Winchester Board of Commissioners voted to reduce the scope of work and bring the budget down to $238,000, Flynn said. 

“This is probably phase one,” Flynn said. “We’ll do another phase next year. Hopefully, financially we’ll be stable and able to do one. What I’d like to see of (the commission) adopt some kind of sidewalk replacement program with funds set aside every year.”

Ordinarily, sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner. 

In the summer of 2019, the city assumed ownership of the sidewalks within the boundary of the downtown tax increment financing district. The TIF would invest part of the tax revenue from the district into the area. Property owners would still be responsible for removing snow and ice.

One of the unique features of the downtown sidewalks are the steps across from the courthouse. Flynn acknowledged they are not easy to navigate, even for the most able bodied.

“We’ve been in discussion with the state highway department about some of the crossings,” Flynn said. “Based on those discussions, what the state decides will determine what happens on the high side.”

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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