West Palm Beach residents now have a place to walk with pride.
On Thursday the city completed four Pride crosswalks located in the heart of the city’s LGBT business district: Northwood Village. The project features the six colors of the traditional rainbow flag.
“Business owners are thrilled with the crosswalks,” President of the Northwood Village Merchants Association Will Davis said in a press release. “They are beautiful 一 and definitely worth the wait.”
And wait they did. The project took over two and a half years to complete.
The crosswalks were initially requested in 2018 by Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.
At a 2018 Art in Public Places meeting it was noted the artwork could be incorporated into any of the more than 50 crosswalks throughout the city that needed refurbishment, according to PBCHRC.
“Since 2012, cities with LGBTQ communities have painted crosswalks with the colors in the Rainbow Flag [an LGBTQ symbol],” Hoch wrote to Art in Public Places.
Hoch said then-Mayor Jeri Muoio and city commissioners all expressed their support for the crosswalks.
PBCHRC then asked LGBT people and business owners for input about where the crosswalks could be placed.
“The consensus was to install the Pride crosswalks to be at the intersection of Northwood Road and Spruce Avenue,” Hoch said in a press release.
PBCHRC gives credit to the efforts of City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf, whose district includes northern West Palm Beach.
Due to construction delays and a contractor who reneged on completing the project, it took two years for any work to begin.
The city hired Claudia Mendoza of IQ Construction, a Minority Women Business Enterprise, to handle the project earlier this year. IQ Construction was able to finish the project in record time.
West Palm Beach and the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency contributed money to rebuild the intersection and paint the crosswalks. The crosswalks will be maintained for the next five years from funds from Hierromat, a steel import company headquartered in Fort Lauderdale.
Current Mayor Keith James of West Palm Beach has announced a June ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate LGBT Pride Month.
Delray Beach and Boynton Beach are both planning public art that incorporates the Progress Pride colors.
Some other U.S. cities with rainbow crosswalks include Albuquerque, Atlanta, Gainesville, Key West, Miami, Minneapolis, Missoula, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, West Hollywood, and Washington, D.C.