WINCHESTER – With nothing left to revitalize in the village’s downtown core, the committee tasked with the upkeep and overhaul is heading in a new direction.
That was the message to North Dundas councillors Tues., Sept. 24 from Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee members Vince Zandbelt and Owen Shortt.
Chief among the new direction is the removal of the “revitalization” component in the group’s name and direction.
“It’s quite a handle, and has been a topic to deal with when trying to create a logo for the group,” Zandbelt said.
Added Shortt: “We also realized we’re not really revitalizing anymore, and we’re taking on more events. We concluded with the logo that with revitalization out we focus more on downtown Winchester – a theme rather than a title.”
To that end, the committee worked alongside local graphic designer Susan Marriner to generate three possible logos for not only its work, but also other groups in the village.
Three mock-ups have been put together, each incorporating Winchester’s agricultural background, complete with a cow and a cornstalk. A final selection process is underway before an official launch of the chosen design.
Between that, the collective has gone ahead with some needed rehabilitation this year.
Among them, the street banners along Main and St. Lawrence were replaced, with 18 cow-themed markers and Canada banners being added. The price tag for that was $4,000. As well, a stainless steel frame was placed around edges of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital mural overlooking Sweet Corner Park to keep the showpiece from further decaying at the fringes. In all, the cost was $5,000.
The collective is also working with the municipality’s recreation department to determine further locations for park benches in the village. At the same time, the committee is investigating the possibility of funding the installation of awnings above the entrances to the Old Town Hall.
Fundraising has been key to the success of the group, with the bulk of the spending dollars coming thanks to its continuously successful Ribfest event.
Bike Night has also been a boon for the committee, though it wasn’t undertaken as a moneymaking initiative for the group. Instead, more than $3,500 was totalled for three separate charities that sold 50-50 ahead of and during the Thursday night rides.
In terms of attendance, some 300 bikes were out in July after rain washed out June’s event, and upwards of 500 showed up in August. September’s finale saw 600 bikes flood the village core, leaving the corridor swelled and overflow parking needed in adjacent lots and on side streets.
“This was by no means a profit driven event, but an opportunity to bring people to Winchester,” Shortt said.
Zandbelt added that while some logistical kinks need to be straightened out, the committee is fully onboard for Bike Night’s return next summer.
The group is also sticking with the motorcycle theme, having formally submitted a request to bring the OPP Golden Helmets ride to Winchester next fall.
If successful, it would mark the first time since 1988 that the ride would return to the village.