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Economy

Palm Desert restaurant owner pushing for improvements for well-traveled alley

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It's not the boulevard of broken dreams, but restaurant owner Michael Castelli calls it an "alley of broken promises".

It's a well-traveled and well worn path behind his restaurant, Castelli's Italian Restaurant, just off Highway 111 and Monterrey Avenue.

"It's an embarrassment and disgrace to the city to have this thoroughfare through this main part of the city that they have neglected," said Castelli.

Castelli says for years he's been pushing the city council to improve the alley, where two-way traffic often occurs on a path that appears a little tight for two lanes.

The pavement is broken down, homeless people sometimes congregate, and Castelli says utility poles are a hazard for delivery trucks.

On several occasions over years, the restaurant owner says the city council has "promised" him improvements would happen.

"I feel bad for all of the residents that drive this alley and all of the businesses along this alley, that they were promised that they were going to fix it," said Castelli.

Castelli's says his frustrations only grew when the city recently completed multi-million dollar projects elsewhere, including improvements on San Pablo Avenue and El Paseo.

Castelli says he's been in business at this location for more than 30 years and says he's not only speaking for himself, but also for several other business owners in the area.

The business owner virtually expressed the concerns to the city council during their last meeting and is planning to speak again on the matter during their meeting Thursday.

At that time, the council could take action.

A staff report on their agenda calls for making some improvements to Alessandro Alley, staring in June 2021, including what the reports lists as "street rehabilitation", "drainage improvements", and "temporary parking along the north side of the alley".

Council member Jan Harnik expects a positive outcome for Castelli.

"We understand his frustration and we agree with him. It deserves attention too. We can't do every project all at once," said Harnik.

News Channel 3 will keep track of any decisions the city council makes with regard to funding for improvements to Alessandro Alley.

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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