COMPLETION TARGETED June 29
An underused alley on the north side of West Main Street will soon be reborn as a mini garden retreat for downtown shoppers.
The transformation of the nearly 450-square-foot space between the Gilbert W. Perry Jr. Center for the Arts and the Everett Theater into Middletown's first-ever "pocket park" is being made possible thanks to a collaboration between property owner The Everett Inc. and the Middletown Main Street Program, the local non-profit dedicated to improving the historic downtown area.
"We want it to be a friendly, welcome area where the community can go to enjoy their lunch or just sit and rest," Main Street Manager Tracy Skrobot said. "Our vision is to turn this somewhat dingy and overlooked alley into a place that's bright, attractive and inviting to people who visit Main Street."
In the coming weeks, the alleyway that previously held the Perry Center and Everett Theater's trash bins will be transformed into an environmentally-friendly grotto, complete with public seating, artwork and planters.
The process began earlier this month when those trash bins were moved to the rear of the buildings and continued last week with town workers power washing the once-grimy alcove.
Soon, Dianne Sietelman, the owner of JJ West Studio in Wilmington, will begin painting a roughly 12-by-16-foot mural on the east wall of alley.
"My vision is a continuation of Main Street onto the wall with a shop window that leads to grassy hills, farmland and a peach tree," said Sietelman, who is donating her time to the project. "I think anytime you can help beautify a building while putting art out into the community, it's a great thing."
Middletown Main Street will finish off the pocket park with vintage tables and chairs, planters made from recycled material such as pallets, galvanized trash cans and cinder blocks, and a DNREC rain barrel.
Skrobot said she hopes to redecorate the pocket park with seasonal themes and occasionally hang banners that promote various upcoming town events.
"I think it's a neat idea and our board was very receptive when Tracy proposed the concept to us," said Rob Stout, a member of Everett Inc.'s board of directors. "In the past, the alley was not very sightly, but I think this pocket park will fall perfectly in sync with the effort to beautify our downtown and make it friendlier to shoppers."
A ribbon cutting for the completed pocket park is slated for 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, which will kick off the Fashion on Main Pink Party.
Page 2 of 2 - The daylong event will include a pink lemonade stand, the sale of pink lemonade cupcakes at Half Baked Patisserie and the final day of pink-themed in-store specials that will run from June 24 to June 29 at several downtown merchants.
Ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of pink-themed merchandise at those stores will be donated to Middletown Main Street to help support and maintain the pocket park.