FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — In the middle of downtown Fairhope, “This is an incredible space that we have in downtown Fairhope,” says Jessica Walker. “To be able to utilize that in a way that is positive going forward is something we really want to do.”
Almost one and a half acres, between Section and Church Streets, that will be transformed as part of the Arts Alley Project.
“You need to incorporate a redesign that is inviting, highly functioning, well-lit and makes it feel safe and have a connection to public transit,” Public Works Director Richard Johnson said.
It’s been in the works for three years, and then, “we’re ready to go, and then oh, but wait,” says Johnson. “There’s more.”
In order to get federal funding, they would have to reach out to any Native American tribe that may have any cultural or historic interests in the site. “One tribe in Oklahoma has requested that we have an archaeologist present any time there is excavation going on.”
Five tribes were identified, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was the only one to respond. The city is now in search of a qualified archaeologist to be a part of the project in case tribal artifacts are uncovered.
“I’m sure they will find some interesting things, but it won’t be anything of an American Indian,” says Johnson. “I imagine there is a lot of history of the last 100 years of Fairhope buried in the ground.”
If all goes according to plan, the city could get the go-ahead on the project at the end of the year. It’s expected to take about six months to complete.
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