Oct 212011
 
Authors: Amy McDaniel

Seen a lot of people lurking around in alleys lately? Don’t worry, it’s not because they’re looking to mug you, it’s because the alleyways around Fort Collins have been transformed.

A few months ago, the dark, empty alleys discouraged nighttime strolls. Now, the lane that runs from Laurel to Myrtle one block from College Ave. is decorated with stained concrete benches, rotund flower planters and overhanging Tivoli lights, giving the alley a contemporary flare, reminiscent of romantic European-style cobblestoned lanes.

Over the summer, the Downtown Development Authority renovated the alleys near Trimble Court, transforming them from grungy to charming. The four-month enhancement project aimed to stimulate the local economy in addition to being visually captivating for the public. The aesthetic appeal of the new alleys exude modernity; a great addition to our art-conscious town.

The renovation did not take place without some headaches, however. The construction undoubtedly affected surrounding businesses throughout the summer.

“It was bad for business,” Thaddius Krehbiel of Henderson’s Pipe and Cigars Limited said. “[The construction] cut off the majority of our foot traffic. And foot traffic for a store like this is huge.”

But, not all businesses experienced such a negative impact. Barista Cassie Collins of The Alley Cat said that the alley construction “wasn’t too excruciating,” and explained that the biggest issue was that access routes to the area changed daily.

While the construction didn’t stop avid Alley Cat visitors from stopping in for a cup a’ joe or to chat with friends, Collins admitted the summer alley project seemed “to last forever.” Owners and customers alike are undeniably happy to see the construction complete.

Inconveniences aside, people are enjoying the new flare of the remodeled alleyways. Rather than just an access route to popular hangouts like the Alley Cat, the alleys themselves have become enjoyable retreats. Even Krehbiel confessed that now that it’s done, he “loves the look of it” and is optimistic about its potential positive effects.

On whether the nearly four month-long nuisance of constant road closures and utility relocation was worth it, Krehbiel states, “only time will tell.”

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