downtown gilroy gourmet alley rendering
An artist’s rendering by CSG Consultants and Dillingham Associates shows the proposed additions to Gourmet Alley between Fourth and Fifth streets.
music in the park san jose

City officials are under a tight deadline to improve the alleyways in a section of downtown to avoid losing a $3.9 million grant Gilroy received from the state in 2022.

The Gilroy City Council received an update May 15 on the plans to enhance Gourmet and Railroad alleys.

The City of Gilroy received the grant from the California Department of Transportation’s Clean California Local Grant Program in March 2022.

The funds will be used to improve the alleyways between Fourth and Seventh streets, adding lighting, benches, garbage enclosures, bicycle and pedestrian markings, signage and more.

Design work is about 95% complete, Public Works Director Daryl Jordan said, with the goal to seek construction bids from contractors in July and break ground by November in hopes of making the grant-mandated June 2024 completion date.

Once complete, the state will reimburse the city.

Hal Williams of CSG Consultants, who was commissioned by the city for design work, said a November 2022 public meeting to gather feedback on the project showed strong interest in incorporating art into the alleyways, increased lighting and movable furnishings to allow for flexible use of the space.

Moving the power lines underground is not included in the grant-funded portion of the project, according to Williams, as it would not only exceed the budget, but the timeline for Pacific Gas & Electric approvals would stretch well past the June 2024 deadline.

Downtown business leaders have noted the difficulties of placing large transformers underground due to limited space taken up by storm drains, sewer and water systems and communication lines.

Councilmember Dion Bracco questioned how construction could start in November, when the winter and rainy season is about to begin.

“You’re right, there are going to be challenges during the winter months,” Jordan said, adding that it’s not uncommon to ask the state for an extension due to weather delays. “We have to do the best we can with the windows we have.”

Also during the meeting, the council unanimously agreed to fund $50,000 over two years for arts grants.

SVCreates recently launched the “Gilroy Elevate the Arts Grant Program.” 

The program will provide grants to artists in the greater Gilroy area, ranging from $5,000-$20,000, for publicly accessible art projects in downtown.

The program has also received funding from the Packard Foundation and Santa Clara County.

The application period runs through June 9.

For information, visit svcreates.org/gilroy-elevate-the-arts-grant-program.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s great to hear this project is close to starting. It’s unfortunate that moving the power lines underground was not included in the budget, as that is an absolutely necessary aspect of downtown beautification infrastructure improvements and will likely result in a re-doing of work in the area.

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