The money is from an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the organization chose Wilmington among 63 other winning cities (out of 240 applicants).
Wilmington Renaissance Corporation plans to use the money in its Vacant to Vibrant: Pocket Parks and Passages project.
That involves two vacant land parcels and two alleyways, and Wilmington Renaissance Corporation’s managing director Carrie Gray said the land parcels are still under negotiations for the project, so she couldn’t discuss details.
But here are the two alleyways slated to be transformed:
- Catawba Street alley, situated between Seventh, Eighth, Tatnall and West streets
- Willing Street alley, situated between Fifth, Sixth, West and Washington streets
Gray said the alleys were initially built sometime in the 1950s or ’60s as an off-street parking area for residents, but that the space isn’t currently being put to great use.
Possibilities for the alleys could include improving aesthetics, making the alleys more functional for neighbors and giving some yard space back to property owners, she said.
As for the vacant land spaces, possibilities range from food truck rally areas to pop-up beer gardens to permanent park settings.
“Our intention is to get started this fall with the community engagement process,” Gray said, adding that folks from the Creative District, or interested artists, who want to get involved with the project are invited to contact the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gray said that at this point, anything suggested by community members is on the table for consideration. For the project, the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation is partnering with the city and Groundswell, a placemaking design firm.
They have two years to fully spend the grant money, Gray said. “If we start in late fall, hopefully by the end of 2017 we’ll have a really good idea of where this is headed.”-30-