The City and Borough of Juneau are promoting equality through an inspired crowd-funded rainbow sidewalk.

CBJ announced on their Facebook page painting began on the rainbow sidewalk at the intersection of Front Street and Main Street in downtown.

The first three colors were painted Wednesday morning: yellow, orange and red. 

This creative project is part of a pilot program with a community group, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, that's funding the entire cost of the crosswalk. They are working closely with CBJ to finish the project this week.

 

Steve SueWing, coordinator of the Rainbow Crosswalk Working Group, started a GoFundMe to raise money for this idea.

He was emotional when he saw the crosswalk, "I kind of teared up this morning when I took pictures of the first colors. I'm feeling proud of the people who came together and persevered to actually see paint on the ground. I can't wait to take my kids by it," SueWing said in the post.

SueWing started the group last summer and estimated costs for installing the crosswalk would be roughly $3,000. SueWing said on the GoFundMe page the group is fundraising for $10,000 in donations. 

The donations will pay for the city's approved painting contractor to install the crosswalk as well as cover maintenance costs for the next three years. 

Since it's a crosswalk, the rainbow is being painted between two white lateral lines to meet federal standards for traffic control devices. All of the paints used for this art project are water-based, so organizers hope it stays dry over the next few days as the painting is finished. 

More than being just a splash of color in downtown, SueWing says the crosswalk symbolizes Juneau's welcoming attitude and inclusion for all people.

"I'm excited and proud that we can see this installation every day that celebrates the strength and diversity of our community," SueWing said.

According to SueWing, this is part of an initiative that started in 2018 when the crosswalks were painted with rainbows without the city's approval.

Since the sidewalks were not up to code they were painted over, causing an uproar in the community. The city manager at the time said anyone interested in the rainbow sidewalks should form a group to work with the city on the matter.

So they did.

The group formed and submitted a proposal for the pilot project to the city. Thanks to the efforts of SueWing, JAHC and others, their work paid off.

SueWing hopes after the pilot program wraps up other community groups will step up to take over the project.

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