Our Urban Placemaking/Green Spaces category spotlights spaces and attractions that combine sustainability, culture, inclusivity of an all-ages population, preservation of open spaces, and creative solutions that engage community members to interact with nature, with a local, small business economy, and with each other. Additional qualities include a community-led or multi-organizational effort with diverse stakeholders as well as accessibility for all to experience a sense of belonging and participation.
The Alley had many organizations and companies involved in its transformation from an unwelcoming, litter-ridden space to an open corridor from the local mall to the historic Oskaloosa square. A grassroots group led the effort in a makeover that includes tables, umbrellas, seating, strings of LED ambience lights, planters (repurposed livestock tanks) with attached ‘walls’ for signage displays, and an artistic metal entrance archway. The signage allows for historic markers, artwork, and business and personal signs.
Many community organizations and companies as well as the high school metal shop class were involved. The project was privately funded through grants, donations (cash and in-kind), advertising, and sponsorships to encourage community pride and ownership. The Alley has been used for community events, meetings, collaborations, musical and theatrical performances, as well as informal neighborly gatherings. The entrance arch embodies The Alley’s slogan, “Preserving Our Heritage While Building Our Future.”