Gulfport breaks ground on Fishbone Alley - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport breaks ground on Fishbone Alley

The city is transforming a drab, industrial looking alley into a lighted pedestrian walkway featuring local art and history. (Photo source: WLOX) The city is transforming a drab, industrial looking alley into a lighted pedestrian walkway featuring local art and history. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The City of Gulfport is using landscaping, artwork and history, to transform an unsightly alley into a downtown attraction.

The plan for the narrow street between 26th and 27th Avenues — Fishbone Alley.

“We couldn't be more excited about this new destination, Fishbone Alley,” said city administrator, Dr. John Kelly, as he welcomed the crowd to the brief ground breaking ceremony Wednesday morning.

Taking a cue from similar successful projects, Gulfport is expecting the birth of the project to bring even more visitors to a renewed downtown.

“Other communities have taken unsightly, smelly alleys that are in areas where people do a lot of walking around and transformed them into another asset for their city,” said Hewes.

“If you've ever been to New Orleans, downtown there's Pirate's Alley where Pelican Club and other restaurants are. In Nashville they have Printer's Alley, which is a very historic destination downtown,” said David Parker, who came up with the idea of duplicating such a project in downtown Gulfport.

Fishbone Alley will feature vertical landscaping on the sides of the historic buildings. Local artists will create colorful murals and other artwork to enhance the visitor experience, and the concrete street will be torn up and replaced with historic brick pavers from 1905 Gulfport.

While the alleyway will certainly look much different, not all of the industrial aspects will be removed for the project.

“There are a lot of things here in the alleyway that people would think you might want to get rid of, some old pipes and different things, but I think it adds character. We want to be able to use it and incorporate it into the whole design,” said Gulfport Main Street director, Laurie Toups.

Mayor Hewes says Fishbone Alley will be a funky street, and downtown business owners are enthusiastic.

“I think it's nothing but exciting. The future is gold and that's what we want as a business owner. It's taking an eyesore and it's turning it into a gem,” said restaurateur, Rob Stinson.

The Fishbone Alley project cost around $250,000, and is being paid for with federal money left over from the Gulfport Streetscape program. Construction will take about three to four months.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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