Winchester, Clark County receives $7.5M in funding for community development

Published 11:30 am Thursday, November 2, 2023

October 31 is undoubtedly a festive day as many celebrate Halloween.

However, at Winchester City Hall at 32 Wall Street, a different kind of festivity gave citizens of the city and county plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Rocky Adkins, senior advisor to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, presented checks amounting to just under $7.5 million that will benefit the city, county and different organizations throughout the community.

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“It’s an honor for me to be back in Clark County [and] to be back in Winchester. This is a good day,” said Adkins. “When people work together, great things happen. I’m honored to be here with you today on [Governor Beshear’s] behalf.”

Previously, Adkins spent 32 years serving in the Kentucky House of Representatives – serving as minority leader the last two.

He, Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed, City Commissioners Kenny Book, Kitty Strode, Hannah Toole and City Manager Mike Flynn were far from the only individuals present.

Also attending were Clark County Judge-Executive Les Yates, Magistrate Robert Blanton, Clark County Detention Center Jailer Frank Doyle, former Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham, City of Winchester Director of Planning and Community Development Robert Jeffries, Clark County Circuit Court Clerk Martha Miller and many more.

Reed, acknowledging a long-time friendship with Adkins, expressed gratitude to all who were present, including those who helped throughout the process, such as Department for Local Government executive director Billie Renee Johnson.

“I just want to take … a second to say how much I appreciate each of you being here today,”  she said. “This is community … we’re going to do things and grow this community.”

Before long, it was time to present the various checks, beginning with a $5,555,000 check written to the City of Winchester.

The amount will be used toward further development, as noted in the memo, of Main Street High Side Pedestrian Improvements.

“These dollars … are not given; they’re earned,” Adkins said. “You all already have a great community and a great place, but what this does for you [is] give you that advantage you need to build the kind of community you want to build for the future.”

Flynn, recognized for his involvement, spoke.

“I want to … give credit where credit’s due. There [were] other people that had a big responsibility at putting together the application to get those funds,” he said. “This is going to definitely just revamp our downtown and just provide something that I never thought was possible.”

Other checks presented included $258,730 for Capitol Tour of Kentucky & Winchester-Clark County Tourism Commission as ARPA funds for tourism marketing, $1 million to Clark County for the Rockwell Road Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project, $153,017 to Clark County for resurfacing work on Red River Road, $17,910 to Clark County as Law Enforcement Protection Program funds and $500,000 to the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority for upgrades at the Winchester Industrial Park.

“All these awards that you’ve heard about today, we will benefit from. Paved roads are economic development. Infrastructure is economic development. Tourism is economic development. The Chamber of Commerce is economic development,” said Brad Sowden, the executive director of Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority. “We can’t be grateful enough. We can’t thank you enough.”

As word began to spread, others took time to note the accomplishment as well.

Greg Elkins, a current Kentucky state senator for the 28th District, published a news  release in the hours afterward.

“I am happy for our community and all the projects and efforts these awards funds will support,” he said. “I appreciate everyone who contributed to making these funds possible, including local officials who did the leg work to secure critical grant funding.”

As Clark County looks ahead, there is much hope for the future.

“Let’s call out all the [distractions] and let’s really get to what’s important,” Adkins said. “What’s important is the very things that we’ve announced and talked about here today, and what’s really exciting is what we’re going to talk about in the future.”