Reed gives State of the City address

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Rotary Club of Winchester is accustomed to having guests speak during its Wednesday meetings at the Winchester Country Club.

On Wednesday, Jan. 10th, a prominent guest spoke at the organization’s first 2024 meeting.

Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed, delivering her State of the City Address, reviewed her first year in office and her hopes and expectations for Winchester in 2024.

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“I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you all today”, said Reed.

After being introduced, Reed – harkening back to her former days as an elementary school teacher – referred to a PowerPoint presentation put together to recap the many gains of Clark County in 2023.

Emphasizing the Strategic Work Plan that was approved over the summer in collaboration with city commissioners and the Kentucky League of Cities’ Community and Economic Development Team, Reed pointed out that – over the next several years – city management looks to identify and respond to the needs of citizens in the areas of housing, parks and recreation, infrastructure, quality of life, and more.

She pointed out that development on 5th Street was completed among infrastructure projects.

“Residents just had all kinds of problems. The drainage was terrible on the street. They were having trouble parking…there was no way they could get down that street,” Reed said. “We actually went in and reworked it [and] put in a brand-new cul-de-sac.”

Others include various Town Branch Repairs, a Fulton Road Extension Project to establish a new connection between College Park and Bypass Road, revitalizing the area surrounding the intersection of Winn Avenue and Mutual Avenue, developing a Vaught Road bioretention basin to address flooding issues and much more.

Among other leisurely pursuits, the city ensured that the Eugene Gay Splash Park, a long-awaited splash pad, broke ground in the fall.

To benefit future economic growth, the Winchester Industrial Park recently completed the Denham Court installation – named for Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Todd Denham – that will connect Rolling Hills Lane with the final 50 acres of unclaimed real estate in the park.

Reed also addressed affordable housing as a prime issue.

Fortunately, growth is taking place.

“They’ve just had a public hearing and are getting ready to start Habitat [for Humanity] Homes on the east side of Lincoln Street to provide more homes for people,” Reed said.

To serve local employees, Reed also pointed to efforts such as upgrading equipment for both the Winchester Fire Department and Police Department, plus utilizing the service of Crockett – a working dog who can assist with investigations – and Abe, a therapy dog assigned to Clark County Public Schools and offering comfort to personnel as needed.

Other accomplishments from the last year mentioned include bringing down the retaining wall that formerly existed at the intersection between W. Lexington Avenue and Bypass Road, dedicating a space for the World War II and Korean War Memorial, implementing Safe Haven Baby Boxes following the advocacy of a GRC student, revitalizing the high side of Main Street, and more.

Plans to further improve Winchester include creating engaging outlets such as a bowling alley, skating rink, outdoor pool, arcade, and family and entertainment center.

While the city continues to look toward implementation, angel investors and anyone interested in offering assistance are welcome.

“One thing we need in this community desperately are angel investors,” Reed said. “We need some folks that will step up to the plate and say, ‘I want to leave this community a little bit better than I found it.’”

A Mayor’s Think Tank – designed to garner feedback from local individuals and industries – will be starting in 2024.

“There’s about a dozen people that will be serving on that from all walks of life,” Reed said. “We’re [going to] meet four times a year…I will be listening to see what [their] ideas are.”

She also noted that anyone and everyone was welcome to learn more about the town’s ongoing activities by stopping at City Hall and signing up to be on the mayor’s e-line.

Regarding the future, there’s much in store for Winchester and Clark County.

“None of this is possible without our community partners,” Reed said. “So, I ask you, ‘Why not Winchester?’. So let’s see if we can continue to [grow].”