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Marion Alley Getting a Makeover

By CBS 2/FOX 28 | Tuesday, July 07, 2015 |

MARION, IA(CBS 2/FOX 28)—One Corridor city is getting a bit of a makeover, and project leaders are looking for the perfect art pieces to display in a place you’d least expect to see them.

“The alleyways are going to feature a lot of contemporary artwork and it’s in a historic site so we have to find a really cool way to blend the old and the new,” Art Director Karen Hoyt said.

Hoyt and the other project leaders with ImaginArt in the Alleys are already starting to take their imagination off paper, and put it in the heart of Marion.

“The art place grant is all about the arts, it’s all about what makes Marion special and capitalize on our assets,” Hoyt said.

The alley will turn into a walkway, a stage will be built for music and concerts where there are parking spaces right now and a building in the center of the alley will be turned into a pub.

It’s a big dream, now becoming a reality, after the Linn County Board of Supervisors agreed to contribute $75,000 to get the ball rolling on the art project. The donation comes from selling the Mott building along the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids.

“It’ll be used for pavers, lighting, storm water management and things that you really don’t see but are important,” Hoyt said.

On Tuesday, project leaders were already starting to look at bricks and pavers that’ll line this alleyway and help create a family-friendly atmosphere. It’s the number one reason why Brent Oleson said the Board of Supervisors wanted to donate to the project.

“This was a really neat project that is right up in our alley to speak that we wanted to be a part of,” Board of Supervisor Brent Oleson said.

The alley will serve as the center of Marion, where folks can walk, shop or dine during the day or grab a drink and listen to live music at night.

“During the day it’ll be family-friendly with lots of art,” Hoyt said. “If you’re coming back at night, there will be all kids of cool lighting, historic lighting features, as well as festive lighting that’ll give it its party atmosphere.”

And a place where folks of all ages can come and enjoy an outdoor gallery, filled with artwork from around the world.

“Whether you’re from Marion or not, have a reason to go there and enjoy a stay in uptown Marion,” Oleson said.

Oleson said project leaders are still trying to come up with a creative name for the alley, but “The Cherry Sisters” is a top contender after the city’s world famous sister act to help create the mix between history and art. The name is also fitting because the Giving Tree Theater is just across the street.

Hoyt said Marion City Council is also giving project leaders another $70,000 to help with infrastructure in the alley. They are still in need of partners and donations. If you would like to donate, you can reach Karen Hoyt or contact the city for more information.–159526.shtml#.ValnLPlVhBe 

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