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Marion Alley Art Project Underway

By CBS2/FOX28 | Tuesday, March 03, 2015 |

(CBS2/FOX28) – The City of Marion wants more feedback from its residents before moving forward with an upcoming public art project.

They’re currently conducting a meeting to display renderings of the ImaginArt in the alleys project.

While they may look plain right now, the alleys are in for some sprucing up.

“This is a place making project using the art for economic development and building what they call social capital,” said project director, Karen Hoyt.

It’s all because of Marion’s upcoming Streetscape project, a plan that will shift traffic in Marion from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue.

However, as with many construction projects, it will also make it difficult for the public to visit uptown Marion.

For area businesses, that’s where the ImaginArt in the alleys project comes into play. “By giving them a secondary entrance, it will just make it easier for folks to navigate through uptown Marion,” Hoyt said.

Easier and more vibrant. Right now plans for the alleys between 10th and 12th streets as well as 7th and 8th avenue include not just art but also creative lighting, bike racks and even live events.

“We’ll continue to draw those individuals that are already coming to uptown but also those who may not know all the different things uptown Marion has to offer,” said Ashley Zierath, of the Marion Chamber of Commerce.

Something some say will be good for business. “I think a lot of retailers in the area are going to get more walk in traffic,” said Jim Dwyer, general manager of Running Wild.

The City of Marion received a $350,000 grant for the project from ArtPlace America.

That money must be spent by the end of the year. Which is why Hoyt hopes to see construction start in June and finish in the fall. “We think that people are going to really have fun in the alleys,” she said.

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