September 5, 2014
Winchester’s Main Street community and committee members are taking pointers from their parent organization at the national level on how to revitalize the square and bring more tourism and vendors to the area.
Committee members held a special meeting recently, featuring information provided by the National Main Street Organization.
Most Franklin County residents are aware that in the past few years, Winchester’s nine block downtown area has received a facelift of sorts through a state initiative called the Downtown Revitalization Project, which takes a percentage of the sales tax dollars spent downtown and enables a city to use it toward renovating the downtown area.
Jerry Sharber, Main Street community director, had stated before that becoming a Main Street community would further benefit the city by putting Winchester on the map, so to speak.
“What the revitalization did is change the physical appearance of downtown, and my predecessor, Bill Cowan, and the Winchester Downtown Program Corporation board worked hard on accomplishing that,” he said. “But we’ve always envisioned that the city would become a Main Street community because it has value from the perspective of attracting more people, businesses and events to the city.
“These are the kinds of things that people like to see in a revitalized downtown.”
In a Main Street community meeting held Tuesday, store owners from around the square attended a workshop held by Todd Barman from Barman Development Strategies and the new Tennessee Main Street Director, Nancy Williams.
The workshop included a question and answer session, where store owners were able to get advice on how to bring the public into their stores and what could be improved in the square to make their businesses thrive.
Sharber said how every little bit of advice would help with what Winchester is doing to improve its Main Street.
“As Winchester transitions and economically restructures the downtown area, businesses will grow and more people will want to come here,” he said.
In 2012, designated Main Street communities statewide generated more than $82 million of public/private investment and created 604 new jobs.
Main Street programs are located in Bristol, Cleveland, Collierville, Columbia, Cookeville, Dandridge, Dayton, Dyersburg, Fayetteville, Franklin, Gallatin, Greeneville, Jackson, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Lawrenceburg, Lebanon, Leiper’s Fork, Mc-Minnville, Morristown, Murfreesboro, Ripley, Rogersville, Savannah, Sweetwater, Tiptonville and Union City.