More funding approved for historic street

COLUMBUS — Improvements on one of Columbus’ most famous streets will continue as more funding has been made available.

The Commercial Dispatch reports the City Council has allocated $25,000 for improvement of Catfish Alley. Money for the project will come from remaining general obligation bond funds used for paving streets in the city’s six wards.

“Catfish Alley is in my ward and I supported this motion,” Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem said. “The street has been re-paved and the parking lot has been re-paved. This will be used to improve the sidewalks and other things. The sidewalks haven’t been improved in 40-to-50 years. I’m glad the council voted unanimously to support this project.”

Catfish Alley became a contentious issue when in August, a group of Sallie Mae Jones’ family members petitioned the city to change the name of Fourth Street South to Sallie Mae Jones Catfish Alley. Jones was an African American business owner who had a longtime presence in Catfish Alley and is the grandmother of Karriem.

The request to change the name was withdrawn by the family after facing opposition from the council and some citizens. In September, Columbus Mayor Robert Smith and Karriem formed a committee to discuss honoring those who have made significant contributions to the history of Catfish Alley.

“By the end of the year, we hope to have the whole street in better shape,” Karriem said. “We hope to improve the lighting and add some benches and flower beds and some new garbage cans.”

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