Public Works Department honored and recognized

Published 11:30 am Friday, June 2, 2023

In 2023, May 21-27 was recognized as National Public Works Week.

Last Friday, Winchester made sure to do their part.

A cookout took place at the Winchester Public Works office on N. Main Street, and a proclamation was read honoring those from the department who tend to the needs of the community.

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“Infrastructures, facilities, and services could not be provided without the dedicated efforts of public works professionals,” said Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed. “[They] are responsible for rebuilding, improving, and protecting our nation’s transportation, water supply, water treatment, and solid waste systems, and other structures…essential for our citizens.”

National Public Works Week is familiar across the nation, as 2023 marks the 63rd year of its existence in collaboration with the American Public Works Association.

By 11:00 a.m., the cookout was well underway.

“We usually try to do something for the guys at least one of the days,” said Brian Sewell, Public Works Director for the City of Winchester.

Before long, several items, including burgers, hot dogs, chips, Ale 8, desserts, and much more, were available.

Just as well, cornhole boards got set up, allowing different teams of individuals to play against each other in friendly competition.

Those visiting the event included City Manager Mike Flynn, Commissioners Kenny Book, Hannah Toole, and Kitty Strode, and members of both the Winchester Police Department and Fire Department.

Flynn took notice of the large, positive turnout.

“You’ve got to intermingle with people to know people and to be able to develop relationships that help you in [your] jobs on a daily basis,” he said. “We have our own mission and the things that we’re supposed to be doing, but these are the things that are important to me.”

As expected, members of the Winchester Public Works Department took the spotlight.

The staff has 16 individuals, including Sewell, an Administrative Assistant, three foremen, two full-time mechanics, and various operators and maintenance workers.

While stating primary responsibilities are maintaining streets and the storm sewer system, Sewell also described the Public Works Department as involved in other areas.

“We do some building maintenance on our own facilities as well as City Hall. If any of the other departments need help with any of their facilities, we help out there.” Sewell said. “We help with a lot of the special events [such as] Beer Cheese Festival and Pioneer Festival. [We] do a lot of cleanup before and after.”

It is not uncommon to see Winchester Public Works collaborate with other departments, whether it be to get additional equipment or ask particular questions.

In addition to the aforementioned, last Friday’s event showcased members of the Clark County Road Department, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and more.

Sewell pointed out that last Friday’s recognition was beneficial.

“I don’t think a lot of people really realize what all these different entities do for them on a day-to-day [basis],” he said. “It’s good to be able to recognize them this way, [so] that our guys feel appreciated and know that their work is important. We’ve all got to work together to get everything done.”