Alabama city transforms alley into vibrant outdoor space

Alabama city transforms alley into vibrant outdoor space
The downtown Wetumpka Alleyway Project has created a vibrant public space. (Michael Jordan / Alabama NewsCenter)

In downtown Wetumpka, there’s an alleyway that links Company Street and Hill Street. Until recently, the alley was an unlit and uninspired walkthrough with four spots for people to park their cars while running routine errands.

That alley, however, began to evolve in 2018 when Jenny Stubbs, executive director of Main Street Wetumpka, and Dennis Fain, board chair for Main Street Wetumpka, envisioned an outdoor space for people to gather, enjoy lunch, listen to music and learn about the history of Wetumpka.

The Alleyway creates a vibrant public space in downtown Wetumpka from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

“This part of Wetumpka had no greenscapes,” said Jenny Stubbs. “We wanted to bring, literally, life back to the middle of downtown and vibrancy in its spaces through greenscapes. And when it’s inviting, the people come, too.

“When the people are here, they can enjoy the art, and they can enjoy the culture through the music, and then they can read about the history,” Stubbs explained. “Combining the different elements elevates the downtown experience.”

Planning came to a halt in early 2019 when a tornado struck downtown Wetumpka. Buildings across the city were badly damaged and some destroyed. Working with the Elmore County Commission, the city of Wetumpka, community partners and volunteer architects, the alleyway project regained momentum and became a symbol of progress and a way for the community to recover together.

“In the revitalization effort, there need to be communal spaces, there need to be spaces where people come and they really feel a part of where they are in that moment and as part of the community,” Stubbs said. “After the tornado, this became a finished space amidst many spaces which are years away from being completed and rebuilt. When we started out, we had no idea the effect and need for this space, but it has really all now come together.”

The Alleyway Project was completed in 2019 with help from people in the community, county and city governments, business partners and support from the Alabama Power Foundation.

It is now an inviting public space, providing a place for people to gather, learn, enjoy, relax and be a part of the downtown Wetumpka revitalization experience.

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