City celebrates first mile of alley reconstruction work

Local News

Robert and Rebecca Rife are happy to see the change made to this alley near their home. 

“Terrible it was like gravel and there was places with like pits, it was bad, now it looks great,” said Rebecca. 

The alley between Third and Fourth street and Franklin avenue is one of the first to be upgraded. 
The city is working to fix dozens of others over the next several years. 

“It is a quality of life improvement,” Shan Gunawardena, director of the Public Works office. “Even thought the alleys don’t carry a lot of traffic they do serve access to a lot of garages, we pick up trash off the alleys, there’s utilities off the alleys.”

Last September, city officials announced plans to make improvements to 150 miles of alleys. Monday afternoon, Mayor Tom Henry gave an update on the work accomplished so far. 

“This means an additional 1.2 miles of reconstruction has been completed this year, and another two miles is under construction to come later in the year,” said Mayor Henry. 

Updates to alleys are being paid with money from a recent .13 percent tax hike. For a household making $49,000 a year, the cost is $5 a month. It’s money officials say is worth spending to fix alleys built almost 90 years ago. 

“I think it’s important for people to realize that we are making an investment,” said Shan Gunawardena. “We are taking an interest in the alley, they are an important part of our infrastructure and there is potential to enhance property values.”

Fixing all of the city’s alleys may take 15 to 25 years. The goal for 2018 is to get three miles of alleys done. So far, crews have upgraded eight alleys around the city with concrete. Ten others are being worked on. 

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