“Forgotten” Downtown Alley Transformed into Urban Public Space for Locals and Visitors

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 06:14 pm Updated: Oct 18, 2023 12:28 am

A forgotten alleyway behind the Jefferson St. Garage has received a major facelift thanks to the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB). For years, a narrow alley located between the western garage wall and the back entrances of several Palafox Street merchants has been a mostly-overlooked pass-through. The DIB hopes to change that and is revamping the alley with plants, landscaping, lighting, paint and other improvements.

Cities around the world are transforming their hidden “laneways” from empty alleys to vibrant, creative spaces. “Back alleys can be some of the most unexpectedly lush, intimate spaces in cities,” wrote Lynn Freehill-May in Travel & Leisure. “Once home to dumpsters and deliveries, these small streets are being rediscovered worldwide, as locals plant trees, install public art, plan festivals and open shops.” The DIB envisions the revitalized alleyway becoming a vibrant, inviting spot for locals and visitors to relax and enjoy music, local food and drinks, public art and community gatherings.

“It’s exciting to transform an underutilized alley like this one and expand the diversity of public spaces available downtown,” said DIB executive director Lissa Dees. The DIB has also made recent improvements to the adjacent Jefferson St. Garage entrance area, removing the unused guard shack, restriping the lanes and painting the exterior garage walls. “Through these projects we are prioritizing pedestrians, supporting the character of the downtown district and creating a new ‘front door’ to a forgotten space,” said Dees.