Several downtown alleys are being transformed into welcoming spaces as part of the City of Fort Wayne’s Alley Activation project.
The project, funded primarily by an $83,000 grant from the Knight Foundation/Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, will build on the Art this Way alley mural program by enhancing the alleyways located between Berry Street, Washington Boulevard, Harrison Street and Calhoun Street.
Improvements will be designed to encourage people to walk and explore the murals as well as take a seat and simply hang out. The improvements include string lighting, signage, dumpster screening, bump out and crosswalk painting, mural and overhead art installations and the placement of moveable furniture and planters.
Seating and planters will create places to hang out in the parking spaces adjacent to the alley on Calhoun Street next to Pint ‘n Slice. The parking spaces are being leased for the next two months as part of this project. The spaces are always open to everyone, however local businesses may plan events such as food trucks, drinks and games.
Some of the improvements have already been implemented and others are still underway; they will be complete in time for the Art This Way 2019 Art Crawl, September 20 from 5 to 9 p.m.
“These improvements are all part of our work to create public spaces that are enjoyable and accessible for residents and visitors,” said Sherese Fortriede, senior planner for the City of Fort Wayne. “Even small improvements such as these contribute to the overall appeal of downtown and encourage people to meet and make connections.”
The Alleyway Activation project was recommended by the Public Space/Public Life project, which was led by Gehl, an internationally recognized architecture and urban design firm. Gehl worked with the City in 2018 to analyze how residents and visitors use downtown public spaces and to recommend ways to make public spaces more attractive and enjoyable.
Partners in the project include the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division, the Downtown Improvement District and the Fort Wayne New Markets Revitalization Fund.