GREENFIELD — An alley in downtown Greenfield could be transformed into an area for festivals, gatherings and walking.
More than $67,000 in city and county funding already is committed to the project that will add features such as gardens and festival lighting to an alley on North Street just west of State Street. The city is currently applying for a state matching grant to make up the remainder of the $111,000 project.
The “North Street Living Alley” is the first official project the Greenfield Coalition and the city are taking on in an effort to revitalize downtown.
A top priority on the city’s downtown revitalization plan is building a Riley Art and Literary Trail, which is loosely based off the Cultural Trail in Indianapolis. The alley would be the first step in establishing the trail, which officials hope will eventually run from the Pennsy Trail through downtown.
“It creates a path, a promenade, that will draw people to our key features and to our businesses in our community,” said Joanie Fitzwater, city planning director.
Plans for the trail include showcasing the city’s artists and history through displays while creating ways for residents to be physically active.
Currently, the alley is used for parking, and designs include plans to preserve parking space. Additionally, greenery will be planted to make the space more inviting, and curb bump-outs will be installed on North and Main streets to make crossing the street safer for residents by shortening the distance across busy roads.
The North Street Living Alley would be just one section of a pedestrian connector running from North to South streets to connect the Pennsy Trail to the literary trail.
Coalition member Steve Vail said the North Street Living Alley will make a statement about what’s possible for the larger revitalization plan and hopefully encourage additional residents and community members to get involved.
“The larger plan provides opportunities to bring people together,” he said. “This little project is going to provide another place where people can gather, and you’ve got to provide places for that to happen,” he said.
The North Street Living Alley project is separated into two phases. The entire scope of the project, which runs from North to Main streets, is expected to cost about $270,000.
The first phase, which focuses on the alley from North Street to the start of the Lincoln Square Pancake House parking lot, is expected to cost $111,000.
The city plans to apply for a Place Based Investment Fund matching grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development to help pay for phase one.
For every grant dollar requested, the applicant must show a $1.50 match.
Greenfield City Council gave approval to fund $50,000 of the matching grant, while the county visitor’s bureau and tourism commission agreed to contribute about $14,000.
With the local match, the city could get a $44,466 grant from the Place Based Investment Fund, if its application, due Friday, is approved.
It’s an exciting possibility, Fitzwater said. She hopes establishing the first leg of the trail will inspire more enthusiasm to make the rest a reality.
City Council member Greg Carwein said the North Street Living Alley will help move the downtown revitalization plan forward.
“It’s things like this that help create reasons to keep people here,” he said. “This is in the right direction.”