COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. — The Whitley County Economic Development Corp. is partnering with the city of Columbia City and the Community Foundation of Whitley County to launch a crowdfunding campaign that kicks off Wednesday. The campaign will raise funds to create Ohki Alley in the city’s downtown.
The project is a “CreatINg Places Campaign,” an initative of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. CreatINg Places is a crowdfunding grant program created between Patroncity.com and IHCDA to give citizens an active role in community projects.
Ohki Alley would provide a walkway between downtown and parking to the alleyway between 116 and 118 W. Van Buren Street.
The alley is named after Shinzo Ohki, a Japanese immigrant, artist and businessman who came to Columbia City in the 1900s and founded local soy sauce factory, The Oriental Shoyu Factory.
The project proposal and grant application were submitted to IHCDA by the Whitley County EDC and city. If the campaign reaches its $50,000 goal by December 28, the Ohki Alley project will receive a matching grant of $50,000 from IHCDA.
"Downtown Columbia City has so many great things offered throughout the year," said Chip Hill, Columbia City community development director. "This Ohki Alley project will enhance those events and provide more space for collaboration and community."
Plans for the park also include a small rain garden, flexible seating, communal tables, planters, rhythmic layouts of art and a mural.