Old Town Walking Mall in the midst of construction

Laurie Connelly, ’Doah Staff Writer
February 6, 2013

The downtown walking mall is nothing but busy these days, and not in a way you would normally think. All along the mall is construction that is replacing the underground water, sewer, and storm drains, as well as electrical lines. After 38 years of the walking mall, the City of Winchester believed that this was the best way to improve the downtown area.

Perry Eisenach, head of the construction project, shared information about the construction on the walking mall.

'Doah photo by Ubi Abdul-Jawad

‘Doah photo by Ubi Abdul-Jawad

“Since these improvements need to be made and the entire mall is torn up anyways, the city is also taking this opportunity to make some aesthetic improvements including gateway features, water features, new trees and landscaping and a new public restroom facility.”

Most restrooms along the walking mall are not allowed for public use, unless it’s a customer in the store. This new public restroom will now be available along the walking mall while certain activities are going on downtown. The water features will include a new splash pad fountain area for the children to run in and play, while others may sit along the side.

Eisenach wasn’t the only one working on this project. Vic Bradshaw, Winchester Star reporter, has focused on this topic since July, when the construction project first began. “The city wants to increase the Loudoun Street Mall’s attraction for pedestrians and visitors,” he said. “That should provide more customers for downtown restaurants and businesses, which will help the city.”

While this is an exciting change for most, sophomore Nolan Potts, a local resident, expressed his opinion about the Old Town Walking Mall. “Going downtown has a different feel than going anywhere else in Winchester. All locally owned shops along that long stretch are unlike anything else you’ll find in the city.” Potts feels as if the walking mall is a special place, and he isn’t the only one.

However, local sophomore Emma Sweeney shares a different view than Potts. “I think they should keep it the way it is. It’s called Old Town for a reason.”

Eisenach has said that this will be worth the wait. “It is imperative that the City have a reliable water and sewer system at the Mall and this work will provide for that well into the future,” he said. “The other improvements included in the project will also enhance the Mall and attract more visitors, businesses and residents.”

HRI Inc. of State College, Pa., is the construction company working on the project downtown. Their goal is to finish the majority of it before Apple Blossom on April 26. The target for the completed project is May 31.

Old Town Walking Mall construction timeline

Old Town Walking Mall construction timeline

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