Koutoulas: What’s in the name of a road?

Since this is my first column for The Sun, maybe a quick introduction is in order. I grew up mostly in eastern Kentucky in a town much smaller than Winchester, if you can believe that.

My wife and I moved here in 2015 to be nearer to our jobs in Lexington and to our children and grandchild, all of whom reside here. We plan to retire in the next five years or so and plan to make Winchester our permanent home.

One of the things I hope to write about in the coming months is my impressions of Winchester — first as a frequent visitor to shop, eat and visit — and later as a resident. For my first column, I thought I’d tackle what may at first blush seem a trivial issue but it is one I believe can impact our community, for better or worse.

It’s the name that was chosen for our bypass, the original bypass on the west side of town. Of course it is known simply as Bypass Road. Now, that is certainly descriptive of what the road is, but you have to admit it’s not exactly inspired.

The newer bypass on the eastern side of town has a much better name: Veterans Memorial Parkway. Not exactly original, but still a great choice as it honors those who have served our nation in the armed forces and adds a bit of character to the road.

I like the name chosen for Mount Sterling’s bypass: Indian Mound Drive. Now, there’s a great name for a road. It honors local history and the native people who built the mounds for which the town is known. When you look up and see that name, you know you’re not in just any town in America.

I think Winchester’s major highway is deserving of such a unique name. I’ve been thinking about possible people, places and historical references we might use in renaming our own bypass.

This is just a thought experiment; I’m not seriously suggesting any of my ideas be adopted. I’m trying to spur a conversation — something for which I will always strive.

There are some people of note who are associated with Winchester and Clark County whose name we might deem worthy of gracing the bypass. Daniel Boone and George Rogers Clark come quickly to mind. Of course, both already have namesakes in our community. There are Boone Avenue, Boonesboro Road, as well as George Rogers Clark High School.

Turning to more recent history, there are other people of note we might consider, including journalist Helen Thomas and musician and famed instrument maker Homer Ledford. I think either of those people are well deserving of the honor. No doubt there are others.

If selecting one person seems too difficult or perhaps controversial, maybe choosing a product associated with our town would fit the bill. How about “Beer Cheese Boulevard” or “Ale-8-One Highway?”

Though perhaps a bit generic, the word “pioneer” is often associated with our town, as in the annual fall festival that honors Boone and others who established early settlements in the area. I kind of like the sound of “Pioneer Parkway.”

Whether or not you like any of my suggestions is irrelevant. I’m sure there are more creative minds than mine who could come up with the perfect moniker. My point is it would be a great boost to our community to have a name on its most traveled road which is unique to us and shows our Winchester pride to the region and to the world.

Let’s start a conversation. Drop me an email or send a letter to the newspaper and let’s hear some more ideas. I’d like to revisit this topic again later.

Final thought: Another possibility to consider is perhaps the name is fine as is. If you feel no change is needed, I’d still like to hear from you.

Pete Koutoulas is an IT professional working in Lexington. He and his wife have resided in Winchester since 2015. Pete can be reached at pete@koutoulas.me.