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Downtown beautification continues with 'Destination Alleyway' grant

  • The City has purchased several of these planters, which are being installed by Landscapes by Sollers. Chris Sollers is donating the plants.

    The City has purchased several of these planters, which are being installed by Landscapes by Sollers. Chris Sollers is donating the plants.
    Holly Kee photo

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@blocalsouthernnews.com
Posted on 4/7/2021, 6:37 PM

MARION -- Thanks in part to the support from three local State Farm agents, the city of Marion has received $3,000 from the State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grant.

The funds will be used to continue the beautification of the downtown area, using art as a catalyst to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and bring the community together.

Tagged as "Destination Alleyway," the project is a visual intervention to enhance the underutilized city parking lots, linking them to the downtown Plaza.

With parking on the Square at a premium, city officials hope to encourage people to use city lots that are already available and make the short walk to the Square safe and inviting.

"Our solution," said Marino Mayor Mike Absher, "is to make the alleyways a destination that is sought as part of the downtown experience. These spaces are more than a conduit between parking and merchants, but an opportunity for creative place making while providing a safe, traffic calming passageway that pedestrians enjoy."

According to Allison Hasler, Director of Community Programs for Marion, the funds will be used to create calming artwork in four of the eight alleyways connecting Tower Square Plaza to the city parking lots, install overhead decorative lighting, and develop and implement a citywide asphalt art initiative that engages the community in a way that promotes community pride, neighborhood ownership, revitalization efforts and traffic safety.

State Farm agents, Bill Ecker, Kenya Garner and Ed Russell supported the application and are involved in the project plan.

Along with the grant, the city if also working with local landscape artist Chris Sollers to provide a green look for the Square.

Hasler said the city is using matching funds to purchase planters that Sollers company, Landscapes by Sollers have installed. Sollers is donated the plants.