KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Overgrown, dark alleys are thought of as breeding grounds for crime.
One neighborhood in the city's Historic Northeast sees them completely differently. The Pendleton Heights Neighborhood, home to an estimated 500 families, is investing thousands of dollars in making them bright and new.
Holly Oden's family makes their home right beside one of those 17 residential alleys, 11 of which are getting the facelift.
Last month, the Missouri Department of Conservation awarded a $5,000 Kansas City Urban Conservation grant to this neighborhood to clean up its residential alleys. Many of them even have small street signs and new unofficial names to boot.
"I see them more as pathways," said Oden, a member of the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association Board.
Oden isn't alone in that opinion. The alleyways are city property, but residents are required to keep them clean.
Those 11 alleys involved in the program are receiving excess trash removal, as well as removal of overgrown plants, which provided potential spots for illegal dumping and places for criminals to act up.
A spokesperson from the Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed the money was being provided for the cleanup effort.
"They're basically extensions of people's homes and people's backyards," Oden said.
One revamped locale, known as Orchid Alley, is home to an elaborate piece of artwork made of repurposed concrete rebar and pottery pieces made by students at nearby Garfield Elementary School.
"Ideally, we'd love to work with neighbors to create more spaces like that and make more place-making and create places for neighbors to come together," Oden told FOX4.
Oden said she believes this will help homeowners and renters come together and take ownership of their streets. That will have a number of positive outcomes.