Main Street Advisory Board Past Chair Debbie Harvey looks over plans for the renovation of Kissing Alley while others discuss the significance of the alley. From left to right are Harvey, The Hub Cyclery owner Andy Howard, city council member and downtown property owner Scott Gregson, Black Rabbit and The Shade owner James Wilson and Carina Boston Pinales of Splash Coworking.
Daily Record photos by Colton Ashabranner
Representatives from Burditt Land|Place presented their ideas and asked for community input during the gathering. From left are architect Claudia Walker, designer Laura Howard, President Charles Burditt and Sarah Korpita, community investment and engagement.
Kissing Alley getting upgrade to make it longer for slideshow
Big plans are being made for a little space.
Downtown business owners, city officials and others met on Monday with representatives of a firm that has awarded a $10,000 in-kind grant to the city to develop a “conceptual plan” for Kissing Alley.
San Marcos was selected from communities across the country after the Houston-based Burditt Consultants “advertised the opportunity” last fall, according to company spokeswoman Sarah Korpita.
She said San Marcos was selected based on several factors, including cultural, social and historical significance. Kissing Alley caught the company’s attention, she said, because of its ability to create and further connections within the community.
“We believe communities are about people,” she said.
The alley that is located north of Courthouse Square and runs between Hopkins and Hutchison streets was designated “Kissing Alley” five years ago by Main Street San Marcos. It has been the site of Third Thursday concerts as well as other events and, each year prior to Valentine’s Day, sports a mailbox where local residents can have their Valentines stamped “From Kissing Alley.”
No design decisions were made at Monday’s meeting, Korpita said, but ideas were tossed around about possible pavements — cobblestone or some other material — placing tables and chairs and “other amenities.”
“We heard from them what they would really like to see,” she said of the Main Street representatives and business and property owners, particularly those whose properties or businesses are located nearby.
She said the purpose of the project is “taking an underutilized alley and making it really a place people want to go to, even tourists.”
Eventually, Kissing Alley could be developed into a venue for events like weddings, though several issues, including parking, have yet to be worked out.
Korpita said the company’s design team, working with the ideas collected on Monday, will develop “a couple of conceptual designs to be sent back to the stakeholders,” a process that may take from four to six weeks.
“We were looking for people who were willing to be champions for the project,” she said, and they found that in San Marcos. “The Main Street program in downtown San Marcos is very strong with excellent leadership and the city was supportive of the project,” she said. “We wanted to see a project that’s not just a pet project for someone but was widely supported and desired within the community … an opportunity to create a space to attract people and continue the social connections.”