The proposal to install rainbow colored crosswalks on Bettie Naylor Street at the Lavaca and Colorado intersections entered one of its final stages – but not without some friction from local business owners. Passed by City Council on Sept. 25, the plan would cement the area as a historic Austin “gayborhood” and showcase the City’s support for the LGBTQ community, mirroring rainbow crosswalks in San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver. (See: “What’s a Little Rainbow Crosswalk Between Friends?” Sept. 18, for more.) After Council’s approval, the idea moves to the Austin Arts Commission, which will review the artwork donation proposal, submitted through the Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation with private dollars.
While the gay-friendly plan received pushback from some businesses in the community, including Peche and Truluck’s, those owners have since dialed back their criticism. However, during the Commission’s Monday afternoon specially called meeting aimed at gathering public input before a final decision, it was clear heated opposition persists from bar owners.
Oddly, despite the standing-room crowd clustered in the city of Austin meeting room on East Second Street, only five citizens signed up to share their opinion – and three of those five were vocally against the crosswalk plan. Following a brief presentation on the timeline review process from Maggie Stenz, collection manager with the city’s Art in Public Places and a presentation by Austin Pride President Paul Huddleston, the Commission opened the floor for a (surprisingly short) citizen comment period.
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