Main Street wins state awards

Main Street Winchester is once again an award-winning program taking home a state award in Frankfort Feb. 12.

Each year, Kentucky Main Street, a program of the Kentucky Heritage Council recognizes the best in Main Street programs across eight categories. This year, Winchester’s downtown received honors in the Preservation Hero category. Preservation Hero was awarded to Wendy and Peggy McAllister for their work in downtown Winchester.

Main Street Winchester, in partnership with the City of Winchester and other local community partners, has focused heavily on redevelopment efforts in historic downtown Winchester.

Among those efforts is working with sisters Wendy and Peggy McAllister as they redevelop three downtown properties.

Always interested in design and historic buildings, Wendy (a landscape architect) and Peggy (a graphic designer) took the plunge into historic preservation in 2016 by purchasing and renovating their first property in downtown Winchester. They have since purchased two additional buildings for renovation. The Preservation Hero Award recognized that the McAllisters show outstanding leadership by working with the Kentucky Heritage Council and Main Street Winchester, share their experiences and new knowledge with the community and their neighbors, and join in broader downtown revitalization efforts.

Their first project, 11 S. Main St. is currently home to the University of Kentucky’s Winchester Design Studio and the Bourbon Barrel Loft AirBNB. They completed the renovation of the building using Kentucky Historic Rehab Tax Credits. They researched the history of the buildings, asked for suggestions to learn best practices for the restoration, and attended Commonwealth Preservation Trades workshops in Louisville to learn proper window restoration, plastering and stained-glass restoration.

When leasing the spaces, the McAllisters kept goals outlined in the Downtown Winchester Master Plan in mind, and carefully selected tenants who will add to the downtown dynamic and fill service gaps. They are following that same process for 30 and 34 North Main, with the addition of grants from Main Street Winchester.

La Trattoria Italian Tavern recently opened in 30 N. Main and seven additional high-end apartments are planned.

“The McAllisters are extraordinarily generous with their time and knowledge,” said Rachel Alexander, Executive Director of Main Street Winchester who nominated the sisters for the award under the direction of the Main Street Winchester board. “They are truly champions and advocates of downtown Winchester and our community. ”

The winning tradition for Winchester began in 2009 for Best Economic Restructuring and gained momentum in 2017 with honors for Best Promotional Event coming from Better Block: ReMain North. The Greater Clark Foundation was also recognized as Outstanding Community Partner for its role in the Better Block project. In 2018, Main Street Winchester took home promotional honors for the Urban Loft Tour and Debra Parr received the Volunteer of the Year award.

Last year, Winchester won three categories: Best Downtown Beautification for the Courthouse Clocktower Reconstruction, Best Main Street Event for the Beer Cheese Festival, and the Spirit of Main Street was awarded to former chair, Graham Johns.

“Main Street Winchester, led by previous Board Chairman Graham Johns, present Board Chairman Tim Smith, and our Director Rachel Alexander, has set a clear course for growth and development while maintaining our unique historic character,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said.