Enjoying the downtown Alpena vibe

Don’t you just love the vibe in downtown Alpena these days?

The downtown is literally hopping most days and has become a trendy and fun place to visit.

As the community prepares for its unofficial Fourth of July “homecoming” this week, I’m reminded of all the reasons I love the community.

Where else can you line up to watch a parade the size and scope of Alpena’s? Where can you watch rubber duckies float down the Thunder Bay River or families create sand sculptures that rival those of the great artists? Where else can you be entertained by the sound of music at the bandshell or dodge the big bucket of water at the Splash Pad?

And where else, come dusk, can you be treated to one of the biggest and best fireworks shows in all of northern Michigan?

Indeed, in my mind at least, Alpena is a “happening” place these days.

And, from what I read, it only will get better.

The Alpena Municipal Council recently approved the closing of most of the alley between 2nd and 3rd avenues from July 1 to Nov. 1. The alley can then be used for outdoor dining and entertainment, or just a gathering place to congregate and relax.

Portions of the alley will remain accessible for garbage pick-up and handicapped parking.

Frankly, I believe it is a great idea.

I remember that, when I served on the Downtown Development Authority board decades ago, that group discussed the idea. At the time, we were looking at a project bigger in scope that would have run from 3rd Avenue down to the marina.

Obviously, the time wasn’t right for it then, and, probably, that project might have been too big in scope.

But taking a smaller segment seems like a good idea that should pay dividends for all the businesses in the downtown district.

When I look around at the investment that has been made downtown in recent years, I am impressed. When I look at the variety of places to visit or eat at, I can’t help but smile. When I think about projects still in the works for downtown, I get even more excited.

As you are out and about enjoying the holiday activities this week, while in the downtown, stop and reflect on all that has transpired there in recent years.

As you do, tap into that Alpena “vibe.”

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Bill Speer recently retired as the publisher and editor of The News. He can be reached at bspeer@thealpenanews.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today