BOISE - Freak Alley in downtown Boise has become a must-see. More than 200 local artists expressing their feelings in the form of artwork. Now, another alley is looking to become its own community space.
“It's going to be a surprise. People are going to get drawn in by some of the art installations that we have and find this little oasis in the middle of these buildings,” said Anne Wescott, owner of both the Union and Idaho buildings.
Wescott says the Union Block Alleyway in between 8th Street and Capitol Boulevard, will include seating, artwork and a small plaza.
“Great opportunity, particularly as more and more people, are moving downtown to give us a small space for concerts, for gatherings, seeing a movie. Where people can grab their food,” said Wescott.
The Union Building will also be getting a daylight basement, adding a whole new level to the hundred-year-old building.
“The public should be able to come here and enjoy this space out of the way of traffic,” said Wescott.
An urban community space in the heart of downtown Boise.
“This idea of having activated alleys, but this alley will just have its own unique vibe, but this one will be more focused on the history of the block,” said Wescott.
Businesses, like Moon's and Mai Thai, are even looking to get involved.
“We've kind of talked about doing a little remodeling and doing something back there in the form of, kinda like, take-out food, but nothing definitive right now,” said Mai Thai worker Morgan Mechling.
“Talked about putting a little dining area on the back end of the restaurant,” said Christi McDaniel, who works at Moon’s Cafe.
The deteriorating asphalt will be replaced by concrete and pavers. Strings of lights will also line the alleyway as work gets done to turn the dark, rundown alley into an urban oasis.
“I think it's super exciting. I think they're going to clean it up and make it really nice. I think it's going to bring a lot more people downtown and bring a lot more people into Moon's,” said McDaniel.
“I think it's a nice change. I mean rather than having garbage cans and cigarette butts in the back, there's would be like a park and cobblestone and probably more, like, community art space,” said Mechling.
Some businesses KTVB spoke with say they do have some concerns about the transformation, mainly regarding their deliveries because once the project is completed, no delivery trucks will be able to stop and use the alleyway.
Wescott says they’ve already started working with delivery drivers to help alleviate any problems.
Construction is set to begin on the project next week and wrap up by early next spring.