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The Midtown Business Association voted to provide $20,000 to a Midtown Alley Activation Alliance project aimed at transforming an alley section running from 17th to 18th Street, between L Street and Capitol Avenue. The project is a pilot venture to activate Midtown alleys, creating a space that can be used for art, commerce and civic activity. Construction of the alley will take place this summer and is expected to be complete by early September.
What makes this project so unique is the sustainable focus on engaging public space in creative ways. Complete with permeable paved stones, solar lighting,and planters, this pilot will add a public benefit to a unique Midtown alley. The project has been a community-wide effort spearheaded by the Alley Activation Alliance.
"We’re developing sustainable infrastructure that will benefit our community and encourage others to respond creatively,” said Julie Young, Alley Activation Alliance co-founder. “Our hope is to use this pilot as an example of what is possible for our alleys and our community.”
Transformed alleys will also create new space for commercial operation and broader community interaction. Thus, the alliance's belief is that not only do these areas represent unrealized cultural potential, but they have tremendous political and econmic value as well.
"Alleys are one of Midtown's most underutilized features," said Rob Kerth, executive director of the Midtown Business Association. "Finishing this first alley will open our community’s eyes to the possibilities. I'm glad that the MBA Board decided to help fund this game changer."
The city of Sacramento Department of Utilities is also on board with the project and will be replacing old water and sewer lines at the pilot location. $100,000 from Federal Community Development Block Grant funds will be used toward the infrastructure. Sacramento City Council member Steve Cohn also donated $5,000 to the project.
The Alley Activation Alliance is working to raise funds to transform other alleys in the Midtown district as well.
“Most things, done well, bear repeating," Young said. "We wish to add value economically and environmentally to our underutilized alleys.”
A quick walk through the alley reveals its current look.
Despite multiple requests, neither the Midtown Business Association, nor the Alley Activation Alliance has delivered an image of the planned transformation. A completion celebration for the pilot alley will be held early this fall.