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Discover Charlevoix's Alley Corridor

One of Charlevoix's overarching priorities is to improve alleyways and parking lots so that multimodal transportation is encouraged as much as possible. Vibrancy began to be added to Van Pelt Alley back in 2017 with substantial private investment that converted three underutilized/vacant properties into viable thriving business spaces.

Hoop Skirt Alley became the first public project that helped some of the Alley Corridor vision come to life. Located between Celeste Murdick's Fudge and J. Phillips, Hoop Skirt Alley was reimagined in 2018 by the City of Charlevoix DDA and the Junior Main Street program, which consisted of high school students participating in the AP Government class of Mrs. Conway.

Using recommendations made in the Charlevoix Downtown Alley Corridor Vision which was written by Michigan State University's School of Planning, Design, and Construction in January of 2018. The report factors in feedback gathered at several public meetings that took place in 2017. Charlevoix citizens had concerns regarding underutilized and unmaintained alleys and the challenges of safe and appealing pedestrian areas.

The project transformed Hoop Skirt Alley into a pedestrian plaza & outdoor gathering place complete with comfortable seating, decorative lighting, art, and a giant chess game.

The City of Charlevoix DDA then created an Alleyway Improvement Grant program to encourage private investment on the back sides of buildings to improve the overall aesthetic of these areas and awarded one grant to a project that is currently under construction.

In 2023 as part of a major infrastructure project, the Mason Street project added further public enhancements to the Alley Corridor, including the resurfacing of a downtown parking lot, new lighting, adding plantings and landscaping, and highlighting a visual path to improve connectivity and flow of pedestrians navigating the alleyways of downtown Charlevoix using decorative brick pavers.

Additionally, improvements were made to portions of Van Pelt Alley, adding the same decorative brick pavers as what was put down for the Mason Street project.

In 2024 the Junior DDA (formerly Junior Main Street) is working on another alleyway enhancement project that will add interactive murals/art to the back sides of buildings located on the 200 block of downtown along with lighting and wayfinding signage. More to come as that project unfolds!


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