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Introduction: Downtown Bracket Project

 

Downtown Bracket 

There are few things that Kentuckians identify with more than basketball, and this proposed project seeks to join two seemingly unrelated ideas: March Madness and downtown revitalization. The Winchester Downtown Bracket is modeled after a college basketball bracket where eight placemaking projects will compete against each other to see which will be installed in downtown Winchester as a pilot/temporary project. Each of the projects, which are intended to be installed for under $5,000, will be placed in a themed bracket where the public can vote weekly on which project they would like to see move forward. The chosen project would be implemented during the summer of 2019 by a consortium of local stakeholders, partners and organizations. Funds to pay for the project installation is anticipated to come from a ‘What’s Your Ambition’ grant from the Greater Clark Foundation. 

Proposed projects will be located on Main St. to support the future HighSide Linear Park with the overall goal of getting people to experience the space differently while seeing tangible projects located downtown. The eight projects chosen for the bracket are intended to be designed and installed prior to the Beer Cheese Festival in early June. Due to this short timeline the bracket will feature conceptual project themes allowing people to vote on general concepts rather than specific projects. This provides flexibility on our end when the logistics of identifying and executing a project begins immediately after voting concludes, which is especially important as each project requires the support of partners.  These partners may include the City of Winchester, the local Department of Transportation and/or local property owners. 

 

Execution - The Voting Process

The process of gathering the public’s input for each project vote could take several different forms. Each of them has pros and cons, but the method that seems to be the most effective, while also having a greater impact, is by having people vote by donating needed items. For example, if we’re asking people to choose between the two public art projects they could vote by placing a donated food item into the bin marked for that specific project, thus providing a tangible way to count votes while also supporting a local cause. The voting should take place publicly on the Highside, providing increased visibility and encouraging participation and interest. 

The voting process for this program was heavily inspired by the WeCup, which was initiated and designed by Studio Squash, Giacomo Boffo, Alessandro Carosso and Oana Clitan and first executed in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The program successfully uses competition and whimsy to encourage recycling at festivals across Holland. In our case we are going to encourage people to vote by donating items to support local non-profits. For example, if the Rowland Arts Teen Center is in need of school supplies, voting that week can be done with pencils, pens, etc. The following week could be hygiene based, food items, and so on based on the specific needs. Using donated items as the voting mechanism not only collects items for a good cause, but also provides a simple and straightforward method of counting ‘votes’ for each project. 

 

Potential Project Themes

Potential projects for the bracket fall under four key themes: public art, landscape improvements, downtown furnishings and pedestrian improvements. Each of these theme areas would have two potential projects for eight projects total. Using the WeCup program as inspiration, there would be a mobile installation on the Highside for people to learn more about the bracket program as a whole, have details about each conceptual project and transparent containers for people to vote in support of their preferred project. Locating this program on the Highside increases the visibility of the program which in turn hopes to increase participation and excitement. It is understood though that leaving these items outdoors and exposed to inclement weather may be detrimental to them. Therefore, the bracket is intended to be mobile and able easily able to be brought inside during evening hours. 

 

Potential Projects

Each of the projects shown on the following pages are conceptual and are intended to be representative of what the installed project could be modeled after. This allows for flexibility when the winning project is being planned and installed. This will be clarified during the voting process to ensure this is understood by the general public. 
 

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