Richmond wins grant to turn Mathieu Court Alley into ‘play street’


The recently revamped Mathieu Court Alley in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood is about to undergo yet another transition after the city won a grant to turn the strip into a community “play street.”

As the Richmond Standard reported earlier this year, the once dilapidated 640-foot-long stretch of Mathieu Court between Barrett and Ripley avenues was transformed by the city last year into an inviting pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. The alley was not only aesthetically improved, it also received a natural stormwater drainage system, planters for urban gardening and surveillance cameras to deter illegal activity such as dumping.

The pilot project, which city officials hope to carry out at other city alleyways, recently won a sustainability award.

But at Tuesday’s Richmond City Council meeting, City Manager Bill Lindsay said the transformation of Mathieu Alley was not over.

Earlier this year, the city applied for a Kaboom! grant to have Mathieu Alley Court become a play street, which was described by Lindsay as “a site or playground place where people can use it, and have it as a play street in addition to a green way.”

The city was one of 50 winners out of more than 1,000 applicants nationwide to win a grant, Lindsay said.

The next step for the city is to enlist community input to design a play street that will become “a destination” on a once uninviting roadway, Lindsay said.

“Hopefully we can replicate projects like this in some of the other alleys,” he added.