Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- For months property owners and city officials straddled the fence, debated whether it was worth big bucks to turn a long-forgotten alleyway into a jewel.
Both sides eventually came together. Starting one week from today construction crews will have 6 months to turn the alleyway floor into an avenue of charm and character and that's not all.
"It'll be concrete paving and there will be trees and benches with a manicured area. After that we expect several restaurants and specialty shops," said Jeff Downes, Executive Assistant to Mayor Bobby Bright.
The actual entrance to the alleyway will begin on Commerce Street right across the street from the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center and it'll wind its way back to Tallapoosa Street.
The changes are expected to be dramatic and that includes bringing down the old water tank and putting it on the Tallapoosa Street side of the alleyway.
"With that water tank we'll have multi-colored lights that will change with the season. For instance, green for St. Patrick's Day," said Downes.
Developer Jerry Kyser is so convinced this will be a success that he's already invested a lot of money renovating one building over-looking the alleyway and cleaning out another. Kyser is in negotiations with a well-known Alabama restaurant for his building fronting Tallapoosa Street.
"It'll be a recognizable name but I'm not at liberty to say who it is," Kyser said.
The city's part of the work is costing $1.1 million and all of it is being paid for by the so-called TIFF fund.
"This is money coming from the appreciation of property taxes in the downtown area, and we're pouring that back into the alleyway project," Downes said.
Jeff Downes and Jerry Kyser know full well there are folks who believe this is a waste of time and money, but both men point to Riverwalk Stadium and the new hotel as hard evidence that a downtown resurgence is coming into focus.