An unveiling was held on Block 11 in Oswego that showcased the manhole covers designed by local artist Elisabeth Teitge.

Her design, “Fox and Muskie,” was selected from among 40 entries in a competition sponsored by the Oswego Cultural Arts Commission.

“It’s really exciting to see public art being incorporated into functional design of cities and city structures, and I’m glad to be a part of that,” Teitge said. “Even functional things can have beauty to them. I think it’s a creative way that Oswego has approached it, instead of just painting things; this is something more permanent.”

The manhole covers will be used throughout newly reconstructed streets in downtown Oswego, but visitors to downtown will get the best chance of spotting them along the pedestrian-friendly routes of Block 11.

A ribbon-cutting officially opened public improvements along Block 11. In keeping with social distancing requirements, the ribbon-cutting was kept to a brief ceremony of 10 people gathered to announce the opening of the alley for public use.

Block 11 is bounded by Washington (Route 34), Main, Adams and Van Buren streets in downtown Oswego, and has been reconstructed to include a new alleyway, 24 new parking spaces, a reconstructed portion of Adams Street with a new retaining wall and infrastructure improvements, and other amenities to support restaurant development on the block.

But some of the most highly anticipated projects on the block are still to come. The new alley runs between 113 Main St., under construction, and the future site of the Dairy Barn. When finished, 113 Main St. will be a three-story, mixed-use building with an independent restaurant and upstairs office or residential space. Across the alley, the Dairy Hut, currently being razed, will be rebuilt as the Dairy Barn, a larger gathering spot for ice cream and a grill menu with indoor and outdoor seating.

Both are being developed by Yorkville-based Imperial Investments.

“These improvements are part of the reason we got involved with projects on this block from the beginning,” said Mike Mann, Imperial Investments director of development. “It’s a huge help for the buildings we’re doing here because of traffic flow and parking. This is big for the people who are going to be coming and enjoying food at our restaurants.”

A separate ribbon-cutting is anticipated for 113 Main when that project opens later this year.

Learn more about the manhole design at shawurl.com/3dd0.