Washington receives grant for alleyway improvement

Published 2:14 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

Washington was selected as the recipient of a $10,000 ElectriCities grant to fund improvements to its downtown alleyways.

The award is part of a downtown revitalization grant project by the membership organization for municipally owned electric utilities, also known as public power.

The city will use the grant to make improvements to three downtown alleyways, installing lighting and security cameras.

“Improvements from the City’s streetscape project have contributed to more foot traffic and increased retail business activities downtown,” said Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell. “That traffic revealed the need to increase visibility in the area, which when complete, will help attract even more visitors and businesses downtown.”

Washington was one of three cities chosen for the grants, which are awarded twice a year.

“Study after study has shown that a thriving downtown is key to a thriving community,” said Carl Rees, ElectriCities Manager of Economic and Community Development. “Helping fund these high-impact projects injects needed energy into our members’ downtown areas, sparking growth and ultimately improving the quality of life in these public power communities.”

The alleyway improvements come on the heels of several visible improvements to Washington’s downtown.

In October, the Washington Rotary Club unveiled a new clock at the intersection of Gladden and West Main Streets at the entrance of Stewart Parkway.

The four-sided, antique style clock was donated in celebration of the club’s centennial anniversary.

The clock was added as a finishing touch to the City’s $3.4 million streetscape project started in 2020.

That project included burying overhead power lines and upgrades to 50-year-old water and sewer lines. Sidewalk widening and curb improvements addressed one of the project’s goals of making downtown more pedestrian friendly.

Shortly after completion of the streetscape project, Washington welcomed two new downtown establishments in The Mulberry House and Two Rivers Brewing. A third, Pitt Street Brewing Company, opened a taproom at the former location of the Pamlico Rowing Club earlier this year.

Rees said the ElectriCities grant is another step in helping the city achieve its downtown revitalization goals.

“These grant-winning projects demonstrate that there are many ways to improve our downtowns and to spark and support development and leverage private sector investment,” Rees said. “While each community is as unique as the projects, as public power communities, they share a commitment to providing their residents and businesses with safe, reliable electricity and excellent service while supporting their local economies.”