Project links Eat Street with conventioneers

City officials hope to get more tourists dining on Eat Street through a $300,000 grant to fix up a one-block stretch of East Grant Street in the Loring Park Neighborhood.

The improvements between Nicollet and 1st Avenue South (by Ichiban's, Marquette Place apartments and Loring Towers) are designed to grab the attention of visitors to the city's Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S. The improvements include new low-level lights, information kiosks, "Eat Street" banners, new exposed aggregate sidewalk and ornamental fencing, said Robb Urquhart, an engineer with the city's Public Works Department.

Members of Citizens for a Loring Park Community have sought the kiosks and signage to encourage tourists and convention-goers to explore Eat Street -- the restaurants and shops on Nicollet Avenue south of Downtown, plus Nicollet Mall to the north.

Work is expected to start in mid-April and finish by July.

The project adds two 12-foot-tall, salt-and-pepper-shaker-shaped kiosks on Grant Street, one by the Convention Center and one at the corner of Nicollet, to guide visitors to local sites and businesses, Urquhart said.

The Convention Center is paying for the project, he said.