BLOOM Winchester is a master plan that centers the voices of those who live, work and play in Winchester-Clark County, Kentucky. The plan sets forth community-driven recommendations for ten parks in the Winchester-Clark-County Parks and Recreation (“WCCPR”) system. The proposal was developed in 2020-2021 through a process that included three public engagement sessions throughout the spring and summer. Diversity, equity, and inclusion served as guiding principles for the plan which aims to ensure that all feel safe, welcome, and respected in Winchester’s parks. Access, walkability and connections between and within parks are prioritized through mending sidewalk gaps and linking adjacent parks and amenities. Proposed pathways and a rail-to-trail system aim to provide every person in Winchester with access and enjoyment of the parks.
The plan considers the unique context of WCCPR parks, embedded in historic Winchester, suburban neighborhoods, and agricultural land, with a system of streams running through. Residents identified Heritage Park as an important gathering place for Black community members during public engagement. Its location, at the core of historic Winchester and the West Washington Business and Social District, is also significant in that it once housed dozens of Black-owned businesses. Heritage Park is therefore highlighted and prioritized in the overall parks system and plan. Cultural and ecological context provided insight for envisioning equitable and climate adaptive futures. Community days, biodiverse prairies, rain gardens, and the integration of flood scenarios in designs formed park plans that are adaptive to future land conditions and the evolving community.
BLOOM celebrates the diversity of ideas that can bloom and flourish from the seeds and nourishment of community, inspired by Kentucky’s native wildflowers. The project was funded by a 10-Minute Walk grant awarded to WCCPR and administered by National Recreation and Parks Association. The grant campaign is a national effort to improve access to safe, quality parks and green spaces, led by the Trust for Public Land in partnership with NRPA and the Urban Land Institute and support from The JPB Foundation.