Revamped Mathieu Court Alley now a colorful ‘PLAYce’

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Revamped Mathieu Court Alley now a colorful 'PLAYce'

The latest enhancement to this once-dilapidated Iron Triangle alleyway is set to be celebrated on Friday.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for the new “PLAYce” for children that has sprung up at along a 640-foot-long stretch of Mathieu Court Alley between Barrett and Ripley avenues.

Two years ago, Mathieu Court Alley received a major upgrade. It was transformed into an attractive pathway for pedestrians and cyclists that features a natural stormwater drainage system and also a surveillance system to deter illegal dumping.

The innovative concept won sustainability awards, but ideas to improve the alley did not end there.

Last year, the city won a Kaboom! grant to have Mathieu Alley Court become a play street, which was described by City Manager Bill Lindsay at the time as “a site or playground place where people can use it, and have it as a play street in addition to a green way.”

That fits into the vision of Kaboom!, a nonprofit that works with communities to flip “often-boring” places like laundromats, sidewalks or bus stops into “stimulating, creative outlets for play.”

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

The community was then solicited to help design the play street.

The projects to improve Mathieu Court Alley have involved multiple community partners, including the city, Richmond Art Center, the Trust for Public Land, Pogo Park, and the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council.

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