There are less than two weeks left till the Nov. 29 deadline to raise $50,000 that would change Bates Alley from a plain city alley behind the buildings that front East Michigan Avenue to something more inviting.
So far 22 people have pledged $22,500 toward the project on the crowdfunding platform Patronicity
Upon completion of the project, Bates Alley would become a pedestrian promenade, complete with outdoor seating for the six bars and restaurants along the block, festive bistro lighting, trees, benches and other streetscape elements.
The project has received major commitments and in-kind support from the City of Kalamazoo, the Jim Gilmore Jr. Foundation, and nearby property owners.
But it will take $100,000 to bring make the project happen. If Kalamazoo can raise half of that total, that $50,000 will be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Downtown supporters say refurbishing the alley will provide “a reclaimed space to host events, display public art, safely connect between downtown districts, and to come together for food, drink, and fellowship under the sun and stars.”
The project plans calls for:
• Repairing and repaving the roadway
• Installation of overhead bistro string lights
• Replacing unsightly parking lot fencing with ornamental trees and landscaping
• Decorative fencing
• Installation of removable bollards at either end, to limit vehicular access
• Bike racks, waste receptacles and other streetscape items to be included
• Decorative signage; and
• Lighting along the cornices of the buildings that line the length of the alley
The plan is to turn Bates Alley into a vibrant, activated public space for outdoor dining, events, and connecting with friends and neighbors. If the full $50,000 is not raised the project’s organizers will still be able to collect the $22,000 that has been pledged to the alley upgrades.