Work plan development continues at city commission meeting

Published 9:54 am Friday, March 24, 2023

The Winchester City Commission meeting on Tuesday had a unique arrangement for the second consecutive time.

Rather than all commissioners looking toward the audience, the four and Mayor JoEllen Reed sat in a square, looking at each other as the crowd watched.

It was for a good purpose.

Email newsletter signup

The city commissioners continued discussing ideas for a work plan in collaboration with the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC).

KLC’s Community and Economic Development Manager Tad Long and Business and Economic Development Specialist Sarah Stoll joined them in the meeting.

“We are very excited to be with you tonight. We’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” said Long. “What we’re going to do with you all is we’re going to start with a work plan. Sarah and I are here to help walk you through this exercise of asking a few questions, and we’re relying on you to give us input.”

Fortunately, the commissioners were full of potential ideas for how they hoped to benefit the community over the next few years.

These ideas included infrastructure to the eastern bypass, granting opportunities for youth, having ordinances to protect downtown businesses and residents, collaborating with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) on trails, adding a grocery store and more.

Furthering the development of current projects – such as the Eugene Gay Splash Park – was also mentioned.

Public Works Director Brian Sewell was present in the audience, as were Winchester Fire Department Chief Chris Whiteley and Chief James Hall of the Winchester Police Department.

“We have to look at salary to be competitive with our neighbors,” said Whiteley. “We need to [work with] GRC and the local community college to create a better avenue for capturing our own personnel within Clark County.”

Toward the end of the meeting, staffing for first responders, building a Veterans Memorial Park, and being more productive as opposed to reactive in the future were listed by commissioners as necessary.

Yet the most recurring issues to be dealt with, according to many, were housing and stormwater concerns.

“We have to take a critical look at what we think our budget is going to be next year, and what we think we can afford,” said Commissioner Shannon Cox.

The following steps will be to work alongside officials, including City Manager Mike Flynn, to help develop a framework.

Later, during the 5:30 p.m. meeting, the recent accomplishments of George Rogers Clark High School’s basketball teams were noted.

The Cards finished as runners-up in the KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 tournament, while the Lady ended their season in the final four of the KHSAA Girls Sweet 16 tournament.

“I would like for us to have some type of recognition for both of those teams,” Cox said.

Mayor Reed confirmed that such an occasion would take place in April.