Our Vision for Our
Small Town's Revitalization
Winchester Downtown Program Corporation
The Winchester Downtown Program Corporation is a
non-profit corporation whose sole purpose is the recruitment
and retention of an optimal mix of small business in the
Winchester downtown district, so as to support the city of
Winchester, the surrounding municipalities, and
Franklin County as a whole.
We expect to accomplish this
through five main areas of focus:
How Our Project Started
Winchester, Tennessee is not so
different from many other small towns across America. Winchester's downtown area,
once a thriving and vibrant central attraction for the whole county, has given way to empty buildings and
For many years, city officials, building owners, merchants and citizens have been
frustrated with this decline and lack of growth. Several years
ago during his term in office Winchester Mayor Richard Stewart appointed a
group of merchants to meet on a regular basis and study the possibilities that might exist for the future.
Funding for revitalization of the downtown area became the central topic.
Governor Bredesen's administration took a hard look at the challenges facing small
towns across Tennessee and in 2005 initiated a grant called the Courthouse Revitalization Pilot Project Act.
The grant, which could only be applied for by a county seat, came to the attention of Judy Taylor at the
Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. She brought it to the City of Winchester and the application process began.
City Administrator, Beth Rhoton, made this a top priority and spent the next four months compiling the data
necessary to complete the process.
The state's original plan was to award one city in West, Middle and
East Tennessee. The competition was so fierce it was decided that two cities from each section of the state would
be awarded the opportunity. The City of Winchester was one of two cities to receive this grant from Middle Tennessee, and
Dayton was the other. The grant specifies a
tax rebate zone be established in an area of the downtown.
Once established, all state sales tax dollars collected within this zone are refunded back to the zone to be
spent on it's revitalization. The aerial photograph
above outlines Winchester's tax rebate zone.
The Role of Winchester Downtown
businesses and professional groups quickly organized and formed the Winchester Downtown Program Corporation.
With the corporation now in place, the City of Winchester discovered that many limitations could be overcome by having
a private nonprofit corporation assume responsibility for the grant. In April of 2008 spending and administration authority
were turned over to the WDPC.
After interviewing several capable architectural firms the corporation chose the
firm of Looney Ricks Kiss to lay out the long term strategic plan for the revitalization of the downtown area. In August
of 2008 the firm laid the ground work with two separate visits culminating in a 3 day charrette
* where the public was invited
to offer input. The firm is now in the process of disseminating the information into the first rough draft of the long term
strategic plan. The initial architect's renderings can be seen by clicking on Renderings.
You can also download
larger views of the Renderings in PDF here.
You can also download the
Plan in PDF here.
* In urban planning,
charrette is a word describing a technique for consulting with
all stakeholders during the planning and design process.
Read about our progress
in the news.