Alley Project, Saline

The Alley is in the heart of our downtown in the space behind five businesses that front Michigan Avenue, our town’s Main Street. The businesses that border the alley include: 2 restaurants, a tuxedo rental shop, a bakery, a pet grooming service and a vacant pizza franchise. Near the alley is a parking lot which serves as the home to our seasonal Farmers Market.

The buildings that border the alley are three, two and one story, creating a dark and narrow passageway. The alley is currently used as a cut-through to access the back doors to the buildings, as a through-way for trash hauling and deliveries, and as a place for employees to smoke. It is home to a cluster of newspaper boxes, weeds and a large abandoned wooden flower box. There are drainage issues with the current cement and brick pavers. The buildings feature windows on all floors and exterior staircases for upper floor access.

We hope to improve and beautify an underutilized, forgotten space in downtown Saline into a much needed community gathering space by forging community partnerships and cooperation.

Saline is blessed with many attractive amenities, but one thing we lack is a downtown gathering space. Our desire is to create a small, but attractive and welcoming area in this alleyway. We envision peaceful outdoor seating for our restaurants, festive lighting, bountiful planters of blooming flowers and dynamic “galleries” for artwork. By transforming this space, we can create a vibrant place for gathering, dining, and celebrating. Through Saline Main Street, we want to work together across the community to create unique and diverse events that appeal to every group. We imagine linking our merchants, Historical Society, service clubs, Chamber of Commerce, City of Saline and arts organizations to fill the alleyway with events like: an “alley cat” pet adoption, an art show, a wine tasting, a theater performance or an educational presentation on our town’s history.
The beauty of gathering in an alleyway is that it is currently an unused asset. Under ordinary circumstances a community gathering in Saline means closing streets and parking lots which disrupts everyday commerce and is inconvenient to shoppers, diners, merchants and residents. Alleyway events don’t block streets or parking lots, they only expand the usable assets that already exist in our downtown.

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