Green Alley construction begins; Motor City Brewing Works to move its front door

"From trashways to greenways" is the vision behind the Green Alley project spearheaded by Tom and Peggy Brennan of Midtown's Green Garage. Funded as a demonstration project by the Kresge and Americana foundations, the project re-imagines what 220 feet of alley space can be in Detroit: a well-lit garden walkway connecting a business to its parking lot and providing outdoor space for residents to linger.

The Brennans, whose Green Garage is next door to the alley, were inspired to look at alleys differently by years spent living in Tokyo, where crowded primary streets mean that oftentimes the most interesting galleries and eateries can be found fronting an alley. "This is a big deal in my mind for people to see new and different possibilities for alleys all over the city," says Tom.

The alley will consist of native plantings and a 6-foot-wide pedestrian and bike pathway constructed of reclaimed historic brick framed by permeable pavement -- which ensures emergency vehicle access. It is lit by induction lights, which are more efficient than LED and last for 25 years. "I hope one day to be have to climb up there and change a bulb!" says Tom.

Motor City Brewing Works will make use of the alleyway as a connector to its parking lot at 469 Prentis, meaning that, for all intents and purposes, its alley face is becoming its front face.

Motor City's parking lot will eventually house a community-level recycling and trash corral that will be used by the Green Garage, the brewery and the Canfield Lofts. Bike racks are also on the menu.

Construction has begun and will continue throughout the month; a community planting is set for Memorial Day weekend.

Read the latest progress report on the Green Garage here.

Sources: Tom Brennan, Green Garage
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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