Dream big or go home. The City of Winchester wants Downtown Winchester to be the "it" spot in Virginia. City leaders want the rest of Winchester to improve with it.
Everyone has an idea about what the City of Winchester should focus on in 2013.
Build community. Create jobs. Improve safety. Build a center downtown for kids. Create new opportunities in Downtown Winchester. Plant more trees.
City officials are working towards a specific set of goals. Year after year, the main one ends up being Downtown Winchester.
"We're trying to encourage as much redevelopment downtown with adding residences on the second and third floors with the buildings that have been unoccupied," said Winchester City Councilor John Willingham. "Continued retail development and restaurant growth downtown."
This goes along with the downtown improvement project and the rehabilitation of the Taylor Hotel, which will eventually be equipped with an entertainment venue.
"We're looking at also the viability of a conference center downtown to be able to host events for people," said Willingham.
Another goal is to continue to improve Winchester's schools.
"We're focusing on the finalization of the John Kerr site for the school determining where that's going to end up being and finding out what our funding sources are going to be for that," said Willingham.
The focus on education doesn't stop here. This year city leaders will be putting together some type of continuum of education for health care professions by tying together Handley High School students with Lord Fairfax Community College, Shenandoah University and Valley Health Systems.
"It gives them exposure to the medical field and then hopefully it will get them to stay here in Winchester," said Willingham.
City leaders aren't just focusing on the downtown area. They're working on developing specific areas they call catalyst sites, such as Ward's Plaza and National Fruit Product.
Economic development and job growth are once again a major focus of 2013.
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