Workers Begin Improvements to Alley A

Related Story

COLUMBIA - Workers poured concrete today as part of a new improvement project for the alley just south of Broadway known as "Alley A." Downtown land developers and business owners teamed up with the city to renovate the alley between Ninth and Tenth streets. In February, property owners along the alley lobbied for its repavement and an underground drain installation to reduce flooding. At the time, the city didn't want to support the project because it didn't have enough funds, citing other improvements being made downtown.

"The District" director Carrie Gartner said after much debate, the parties came to an agreement on renovations.

"When it rained, the alley was like a river, so everyone agreed that something must be done," Gartner said. "The city was willing to help because the owners pulled a lot of funds together, showing they were serious."

Kampai Sushi Bar & Restaurant opened in the alley last year. Co-owner Art Wuttisak said during storms, customers would talk about the water outside his restaurant. Another owner said customers would be discouraged to enter the businesses because of the standing water.

"I think the renovations will attract more business to the alley area," Kenny Duzan said. "The alley has a lot of potential, my business has put flowers out to make it look better."

The city continues its efforts to beautify downtown, making all areas more appealing to incoming visitors. The project cost about $200,000. There is no timetable on when the alley will be finished.