In 2016, Dave Ouellette and other members of the neighborhood group A.C.T.I.O.N. celebrated a long germinating project in the Acre section of the city. The former Decatur Ally had been rededicated as Decatur W.A.Y. (Water, Art, and You) after a multi year collaboration of several stakeholders transformed the neglected passageway into a unique outdoor community space.
For many years Decatur Alley was overgrown with trees and brush. In a story similar to the transformation of the North Common Ampitheatre, the neighborhood group set its sight on revitalizing the site in 2009. UMass Lowell’s purchase and redevelopment of the adjacent University Crossing site provided a key partner for ACTION’s efforts.
Decatur WAY was officially dedicated in a May 2016 ceremony and the 1200 foot walkway featured approximately 100 pieces of artwork including many works done by local students. In addition to the artistic theme, the alley’s walkway served as new stormwater filtration system with porous concrete that absorbs water.
In October 2018, Decatur WAY welcomed a new addition–“A new mural created by UMass Lowell students and alumni that reflects the vibrancy of Lowell” The mural was designed by both current students and recent graduates with the support of Art and Design Professor Stephen Mishol and History Professor Robert Forrant to be both artistic and historical.
Mayor Samaras was on hand to help dedicate the mural in a ceremony that also featured ACTION’s Dave Ouellette and UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney.
Be sure to check out the mural at Decatur WAY located in between Merrimack and Salem Streets, right near University Crossing.