A broad vision for a narrow space in Elizabeth City

"It's an ugly alley."

ELIZABETH CITY, NC (WVEC) --- Walking by it in Elizabeth City, it may not seem all the impressive.

“It’s an ugly alley,” said artist Mike Boyce.

But Boyce sees the potential in the 10ft wide alleyway off of Poindexter Street downtown.

With just a $5,000 grant, the city will transform the alley into a gathering place for the community.

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“Make you feel like you’re inside downtown,” said Deborah Malenfant, Executive Director of Elizabeth City Downtown Incorporated.

The plans include benches made from old fire hydrants and reclaimed wood, string lights hanging from above, and an art installment that will serve as the centerpiece – an oak tree made out of metal - crafted by Boyce.

“It’s going to look like we cut an oak tree and half and stuck it up next to the building,” said Boyce.

The concept of turning junk into art Boyce’s life work, and the alley transformation, and the metal tree, represents a literal peak of his passion.

“I am excited to get started,” said Boyce.

Matching his excitement are the main players who organized the entire project.

Malenfant and Stacey White, president-elect of the Albemarle Area Association of Realtors, are part of a small group leading the way.

“We are stretching it as far as we can go,” said White.

When you see the completed transformation this summer, remember that it didn’t take a lot of money.

It all started with a narrow space and broad vision.