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Alley Activation Project in Downtown Kaukauna looks to attract community, business

1. Map

The City of Kaukauna is rolling out a new project to give purpose to an unexpected area in the downtown space. The Alley Activation Project, beginning April 2024, will connect the 2nd Street Alley and 3rd Street Alley near Heritage Mall and The Pub.

Alley Activation is the concept of utilizing alleys to create a space for business and public use, drawing pedestrian activity. Funded through the WEDC Community Development Investment Vibrant Spaces Grant, the alley and vacant lots between 2nd Street and 3rd Street will be converted into an attraction with beautification elements such as modern lighting, outdoor seating, a paved boardwalk and planting areas.

“We believe this project will provide a space for the community to gather and bring business into the downtown area,” Lily Paul, associate planner for the City of Kaukauna, said. “The project also connects the Nelson Trail and the Konkapot Trail going through the Fox Valley, creating a gateway into our downtown.”

Set to begin in April, the Alley Activation Project is a result of a workshop conducted in the fall of 2021 by Ayres Associates Inc. and funded through the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. The workshop identified areas of improvement for the 2nd Street and 3rd Street alleyways and provided conceptual drawings detailing possible outcomes for the spaces. The City then worked with Trevor Frank, architect from Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc. and longtime Kaukauna advocate, to develop the concepts into a design.

“There was a lot of research and planning that went into the design for this project,” Kaukauna Mayor Tony Penterman said. “Our city has a lot to offer for people looking to live, work, visit and do business. As a city, we want to do everything we can to help facilitate a community of choice where people can do just that.”

The Alley Activation project will also include renovations for the vehicular alley such as updating the storm sewer, burying overhead cables/utilities, and pavement replacement. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

5. Current Vehicle Alley