WINCHESTER — The city’s Development Services Department has been restructured following the July 1 closure of the Old Town Winchester management office.

Alex Flanigan, a Morgantown, W.Va., native who has lived in Winchester since 2012, will start in the newly created position of community arts and vitality manager on July 22.

Sarah Acuff Chapman, who served as Old Town coordinator until that position was eliminated on July 1, has been transferred into a new role as development services assistant.

Winchester Business and Workforce Development Director George Hoddinott has been named business retention/expansion manager, and Business and Workforce Development Coordinator Shirley Dodson remains in her position but with the new title of business and community development manager.

Acuff Chapman and Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell learned in late April that their jobs had cut from the city’s budget for fiscal year 2020, which began on July 1. As the only two employees of the Old Town Winchester management office, they were responsible for addressing the needs of downtown merchants and organizing special events including concerts, farmers markets, movie screenings and holiday celebrations.

“Every year when we start working on the budget, we take a critical look at the organization and see what we can change to improve service delivery to the community,” City Manager Eden Freeman said in April. “This was an area that we identified where we could look at changes and start improving not only downtown, but the city in general.”

According to city records, Bell earned $105,400 in annual salary and benefits as downtown manager, and Acuff Chapman received $62,100 in salary and benefits as Old Town coordinator.

The city’s FY 2020 budget includes $67,800 in salary and benefits for the new community arts and vitality manager, and $55,100 in salary and benefits for the development services assistant.

In her role as development services assistant, Acuff Chapman, who joined the Old Town Winchester management office in 2013, will also staff the Old Town Welcome Center at 33 E. Boscawen St.

Flanigan, a 2016 graduate of Shenandoah University, will be based in the Welcome Center as well. She will be tasked with promoting, marketing and coordinating special events throughout the city, but with an emphasis on Old Town, the release states. Her duties will include the establishment of a visual and performing arts presence in the community, development of a citywide cultural arts program, and assisting with Virginia Main Street program requirements.

Dodson is a Staunton native who joined the Winchester Development Services Department in 2015 following her graduation from James Madison University.

Hoddinott came to Winchester in February 2018 after working in Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development.

The Winchester Development Services Department is overseen by Shawn Hershberger, who was hired as director in March 2017.

— Contact Brian Brehm at

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