From our media partners at Sun Sentinel:
Key West prides itself as an island of tolerance and equality. So it's fitting, a Lauderdale-by-the-Sea girl says, for it to have a footbridge, arched and painted like a rainbow, to commemorate those qualities.
The "rainbow pride bridge" proposal, by 10-year-old Adelle Barsky-Moore, has won initial endorsement of Key West officials, who want to incorporate it in plans for a waterfront park.
"I thought it was a brilliant idea," said City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, whose district includes the future park. "I'm going to push this forward and try to get this accomplished."
Adelle was "pretty happy" to win such backing. "I feel very good about it and confident about it," she said. "It's just a really good cause to be supporting."
Adelle came up with the concept after her fourth-grade class at Virginia Shuman Young Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale was assigned to design a bridge for an actual Florida locale. She settled on Key West and, given its large percentage of gay and lesbian tourists, designed an arched, multicolored bridge.
"It's like one big rainbow," she said.
Adelle, daughter of social work professor Allan Barsky and accountant Greg Moore, spent three weeks on the project. She created a professional presentation, and crafted a model bridge with some 500 painted popsicle sticks. "It was hard, but it was sort of fun at the same time," she said.
"She's very involved in social issues," said Barsky. "She's got a strong heart in that direction."
Last week, a calm and self-possessed Adelle, in a rainbow-hued sundress, made her presentation to an appreciative Key West City Commission. "The bridge will celebrate diversity with the many colors of the gay pride flag," she said. "Also, my parents are gay."
The 85-foot-long foot bridge would cost about $132,500, according to her calculations. Funding, including $50,000 from the city, would come from the state and sale of names on the structure. In her plan, it would connect Sunset Pier with land just west of Duval Street.
But city officials shifted Adelle's proposed site to Admiral's Cut, a small inlet where the city is developing a waterfront park. The bridge could be included in negotiations with the Westin Key West Resort & Marina, at one end of the proposed span.
"The city has been negotiating for quite some time to put a bridge along that cut," said city spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
"Here's something that helps depict the philosophy of the city as one human family," said Weekley.
But planners will have to work without benefit of Adelle's popsicle stick model. "A kid on my bus pretty much broke it," she said.Robert Nolin