Virignia Governor Ralph Northam announced on August 2 that Winchester will receive a $10,000 Downtown Investment Grant. Old Town Winchester is an original Virginia Main Street Community and has been in the program over 30 years. As an accredited program, we were eligible to apply for a Downtown Investment Grant. We submitted the grant application in March 2018.
The focus of the grant is updating the existing way-finding signage system which was designed in 2002. The way-finding signage system is a series of signs designed to direct people from key entrance corridors to key areas throughout the community ranging from Jim Barnett Park to the downtown parking garages. They help direct tourists and others not familiar with the area to explore and discover areas of Winchester beyond major intersections and road interchanges. Good way-finding signage improves the overall brand of a community, leads to increased tourism spending, improves traffic flow, and enhances tourist experiences, among other benefits. Updating the way-finding signage is a City Council priority which was outlined in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan as part of the goal to accelerate revitalization of catalyst sites and other areas throughout the city.
The Old Town Development Board (now known as Old Town Advancement Commission) made updating the way-finding system a priorityover the last several years and photographed existing signs and catalogued where changes were needed. They identified incorrect signs that were installed when several roads were one-way in Old Town Winchester and before the new National Avenue traffic circle was constructed. They also found signs were missing on key entrance corridors.