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Austin Fighting Back Against Crime By Transforming Alleys
Updated: Tuesday, May 6 2014, 01:34 PM CDT
A new City of Austin program is transforming neighborhood alleys into a community space to keep crime out.
The Green Alley Initiative kicked off this week in the Guadalupe neighborhood.
Resident Mark Rogers says people typically don't want to walk in the alleyways.
"When alleys are not kept up, they are overgrown, they are not well lighted and you have problems. We have had our share of that," said Rogers.
He says that share of crime on the east side includes burglaries, unwanted people and beer cans.
That's why the city is fighting back.
"This idea is what can we do to make alleys part of the neighborhood that gets used more and contribute to neighborhood safety and providing places for more people to live," said Lucia Athens, chief sustainability officer for the City of Austin.
Athens says the first alley they are redoing is on 8th and 9th streets between Lydia and Waller.
"We are adding rain gardens. We are adding colorful concrete, art elements and some address markers to make the alley more pretty," said Athens.
The initial cost to taxpayers is $200,000. Neighbors will then adopt the alley to take care of maintenance.
Rogers hopes the change will allow people to be more aware and make the neighborhood safer.
"It's not going to be an area where people can hang out and do things they shouldn't be doing and get away with it. It will definitely help," said Rogers.
The project will be completed in mid-August. If successful, the city will look at expanding the program.
Cities like Chicago and Seattle have similar initiatives.