WINCHESTER, VA- Winchester's Old Town Development Board is working to bring the best and brightest ideas to better brand the city.
"They came together last year in January and really developed an aggressive list of items and issues that they wanted to address in Old Town," say Winchester City Manager Dale Iman. "To make Old Town a more vital and virbrant part of the community."
The group, made up of business and property owners, and interested residents met to renew downtown. A top priority, they say, is increasing the vitality of Old Town.
"Currently, there are many projects going on, such as the mall renovation project," says Jennifer Bell, Downtown Manager. "It's going to be so fantastic and beautiful. There's going to be elements that are going to draw people into the downtown."
The group works under the Main Streets Model, outlining ways to promote the area through marketing, reconstruction and buying new signage that will serve as a gateway into the city.
"I-81 is a main corridor," Bell says. "To be able to have a sign that says Historic Old Town Winchester and highlight what that is could really draw a lot of people in."
The city funds some of the board's programs through tax dollars. It will implement the branding process over the next 18 months.
"I think the city council was listening very closely to the messages sent by the OTDB," Iman says. "Every item that the Old Town Development Board identified as a priority item has been rolled in and incorporated into the city council strategic plan."
"Old Town should have something for everybody," says Lauri Bridgeforth, Chair of the OTDB. "In terms of entertainment, restaurant choices, retail speciality shops, there should be something for everybody. Whether you're seven or 70."
The committee is still working out the details for each committee, but plans to build a new welcome center across from city hall. It will have info about events, restaurants and shopping in Old Town for residents and visitors.