Jul 192011
Authors: Matt Miller

Financially, the Alley Cat has been caught by the tail in recent months. The 24-hour coffee house and CSU institution has hit hard times this summer due to construction in its alleyway near the corner of Laurel Street and College Avenue.

Alley Cat owner Mark Williams declined to comment, but general manager Brooke Williams said that times have been tighter than the coffee place has ever seen in its seven years.
She also stressed the Alley Cat is in no danger of closing.

“The construction is making things difficult,” Brooke Williams said. “It has blocked off all access, parking is a disaster and students are gone for the summer.”

Brooke Williams said that Alley Cat owners attempted to talk to the Downtown Development Authority, who is running the construction project, but had difficulty getting through to them.

But, according to DDA Construction Manager Keith Meyer, the DDA worked closely with the Alley Cat owner for years planning out the project and creating a specific access plan.

“We essentially executed the plan we made,” Meyer said. “We worked with him, but I don’t think he’s ever experienced construction of this nature.”

Meyer said access is restricted to the Alley Cat because keeping the public safe from the construction is the main priority. He added that he even made an effort to add additional signs in the area to draw business into the coffee shop.

The construction is part of a citywide project that will make all alleyways from Old Town to CSU’s campus beautiful pedestrian corridors, Meyer said.

“The project enhances adjacent buildings, including the Alley Cat,” Meyer said.

The construction project will enhance 14 total alleyways, and has already done one near Tony’s Restaurant and Lounge and one near the Crown Pub. Meyer said he has not heard complaints from any other businesses including those around the Alley Cat.

“Even though business is down, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Meyer said of the other businesses.

Meyer said construction is ahead of schedule and should be done the first week of September.

In the meantime the Alley Cat is hosting a benefit concert on July 22 at 7 p.m. to bring in business. Otem Rellik, Maxwell Hughes, Patrick Crosby, Jordan Twiggs and Nathan Chumley will perform and it will cost $5.

“Whatever revenue will be nice,” Brooke Williams said. “We want to promote that we’re still in business.”

News Editor Matt Miller can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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