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A fresh look in the alleys

Anthony Nemcek, Downtown Main Street vice president and the one who wrote a grant to get Valspar paint, paints behind Wise Penny Thursday to improve the look of Red Wing's alleys before the upcoming Highway 61 construction project pushes more traffic and parking to lesser seen areas of the town. (Republican Eagle photo by John R. Russett)

The smell of fresh paint filled the air behind the Wise Penny thrift store Thursday evening as the brick was transformed with a coat of whipped cream topping-colored paint.

Red Wing Downtown Main Street recently received 101 gallons of paint through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Fund Picture-It-Painted grant program.

Anthony Nemcek, Red Wing Downtown Main Street vice president and the driving force behind the painting project, along with Mayor Dan Bender and others showed up for the first painting event.

Nemcek said one of the contributing factors to his idea to focus on painting the downtown alleys is the 2015 reconstruction on Highway 61, during which Red Wing will lose a lot of its on-street parking and front door traffic for some businesses.

“We can’t just let it catch us flat-footed,” Nemcek said.

Nemcek said the grant process wasn’t too consuming, but the organization did need a plan for the how the paint would be used. He said members scouted the buildings before applying and, come October, they need a report with photos of the finished project, and other components such as number of volunteers and volunteer hours.

Nemcek said he hopes to have the project completed by September and plans on scheduling more painting days with one tentatively planned for Thursday July 24.

“It’s a really visible way for us to show we’re involved in the downtown area,” he said.

Anyone interested can contact Downtown Main Street or find more information at

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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