The City of Winchester elected positions serving from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2027 are:
Mayor: Bob McCoy (Incumbent)
Clerk-Treasurer: Kerry Sayre (Incumbent)
City Council District 1: John Boyd (Incumbent)
City Council District 2: Terry Alfrey (Incumbent)
City Council District 3: Jim Nunez, Jr. (Incumbent)
City Council District 4: Leesa Teale (Incumbent)
City Council At-Large: John Brutchen (Newly Elected)
After 16 years of service, Tom Sells decided not to run again for the At-Large position. We thank him for his years of dedication to the City of Winchester.
The following is a brief summary from Mayor McCoy of the past four years.
Shortly after taking office the shutdown for COVID drastically shifted the focus of city operations into an unexpected direction. It cannot be overlooked how the community, churches, schools and city departments stepped up to care for the residents during that time.
Despite the unprecedented time where the community experienced personal losses and the closing of some businesses, within a short amount of time Winchester experienced a boom in new businesses filling buildings that had long been empty. Our business areas and historic square have very few empty spaces left. New life has been brought into street level storefronts, and upper level offices and apartments. We’ve had a continual flow of new families moving to the area; many stating they were drawn by the quality of life we continue to build on.
We also see the benefits in expanding what our community has for the elderly and special needs individuals and families.
Ball State University Department of Urban Planning is currently working on creating an updated plan for Winchester. Although many more can be listed, when asked what residents like most about living in Winchester they responded with the qualities of a small town, easy to get around, the downtown, parks, tight-knit community, great place to raise a family and not too expensive.
Entrepreneurship continues to be an important part of our history and local economy. Grants or forgivable loans were awarded to help businesses grow or to help foster growth in the community. A wide range of available jobs are plentiful, with many local businesses regularly posting job openings.
For a time we risked permanently losing our skating rink and bowling alley, but both are now fully operating. The Winchester Speedway’s upgrades and feature on FOX Sports have drawn renewed interest from across the nation.
After many years of work and grant applications, we received a matching grant from the DNR for $285,000 for a much-anticipated splash pad. The drastic global increase in supply costs almost stopped the project, but the community came together through donations to keep it on schedule. The Goodrich Trust also awarded funding for park upgrades and projects which included $160,000 in 2021, $110,000 in 2022 and $171,000 in 2023. One project was new inclusive playground equipment being added to Goodrich Park to make sure it is not just ADA compliant, but to also allow children of differing abilities to play. The Free Summer Concert Series and the Labor Day Weekend Softball Tournament continue to be very popular in the park as well as skateboard events at Morton Hill. In addition, it continues to draw in many for Disc Golf and Little League. The annual Family FallFest in the Park was introduced in 2021 and rounds out Winchester’s traditionally busy October weekends of the Winchester 400 and Mardi Gras.
Upgrading streets and sidewalks is key to the quality of life and marketability of a community. We received Community Crossing Grants in 2020 for $661,000, in 2021 for $1 million and in 2022 for $703,000 and $650,000 in 2023. The streets addressed included Brown, Elm, Carl, Will, Short, Cherry, Beech and the Gaslight Addition. The 2023 Community Crossing Grant will address Greenville Avenue between Washington Street and the hospital. Additionally, sidewalks have been replaced or added on Union Street, Franklin Street, Huntsville Road, Jackson Street, Woodcrest Avenue, Clem Street, and Englewood Drive. Many residents have also taken advantage of the Sidewalk Assistance Program.
Like many communities, the City of Winchester has had to address blight. Over the last few years we took overdue actions. Some houses were past the possibility of saving and were demolished due to health and safety reasons. The City either demolished or financially helped the owners with seventeen houses.
However, we have also seen the renovations and upgrades of old homes and buildings and the construction of new ones. Sewer and water infrastructure has gone in for Willow Ridge 3 for 17 new homes and Northtown 2 for 12 new homes. Homes have already been started and completed in both developments.
Advancing healthcare is important in a thriving community. Reid Health built a new facility. Jay-Randolph Developmental Services upgraded their existing facility, opened a thrift store where their clients can work and found a residential home for some of its clients. A much-needed ABA center, Advanced Behavioral Consultation, opened on the square and then a short time later moved to a larger location.
The quality of our education continues to be a pride for our community and youth are prepared for a variety of successful paths. Falcon Industries, Winchester Community Early College, online courses, strong special education programs and partnerships with surrounding colleges and universities create many opportunities for their future.
We used the American Rescue Plan Funding and other funds to purchase a new salt barn and equipment; including trucks for the street department, ladder truck for the fire department, ambulance, police cars, radios, and tasers. There has been a shortage of emergency personnel across the nation and in order to stay competitive we have increased pay for emergency services and city employees.
We refinanced the interest rates on debt from over 6% down to 2% to 3%. Our assessed value went from $127,5558,213 in 2020 to $141,391,052 in 2023.
Also, in the best interest of the Winchester’s tax payers and after much discussion, the City Council voted to close the Winchester City Court. After close analysis of financials, it was discovered that for many years Winchester residents were bearing the burden and costs from the state and surrounding communities with a minimal number of cases actually having anything to do with Winchester.
The nation continues to be in a crisis regarding drug addiction and the city continues to address it in a number of ways through law enforcement, programs, treatment and compassion. A better understanding of addiction and mental health has helped in creating more resources and removing the stigma that might prevent someone or a family from seeking help.
In four years, we’ve just gotten started and I look forward to building on the positive momentum we have.