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Marion alley project seeks community feedback

ImaginArt in the Alleys will present renderings to the public on Tuesday

By Cassidy Riley, The Gazette | March 1, 2015 |

MARION — The city is soliciting input from community members before breaking ground on an alley beautification project.

On Tuesday, the city is holding an open house to display proposed renderings for the ImagineArt in the Alleys project. This follows the launch of the ImagineArt in the Alleys website in early February. The website is designed for Marion residents to provide photographic or written ideas for the alley project as well as answer survey questions.

“We really want the public to take ownership and be proud of this project,” said Amber Bisinger, communications coordinator for the city of Marion.

Bisinger said so far, the city has received strong feedback in favor of creative lighting and functional art in the alleys, such as bike racks and tables.

The website also seeks input for activities that should be held in the alleys. Live performances and artist demonstrations are getting the most positive responses.

The ImagineArt in the Alleys project received a $350,000 ArtPlace America grant. Marion was one of 55 communities to receive a grant and the only one in Iowa. The alleys between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue and 10th Street and 12th Street in uptown Marion will be part of the project.

Bisinger said Seventh Avenue is expected to undergo construction and the project will provide a second entrance for businesses.

After the design phase, bids for artists and construction companies will be sought in March. Construction is expected to begin in June and finish in the fall.

“We really want to bring life and vitality to the alleys, which are currently a underused space,” she said.

ImagineArt in the Alleys is one of three national ArtPlace projects aimed at utilizing underused space. At the end of March, members of the Uptown Marion board will attend the National Main Street Conference in Atlanta to share the project in a panel presentation.

The open house is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday on the first floor of Marion City Hall, 1225 Sixth Avenue. The next open house will be April 1. To provide feedback or ideas for the alleys, visit imaginartinthealleys.mindmixer.com.

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