Gay Atlanta pushed City Hall and raised thousands to paint rainbow crosswalks in a high-profile Midtown intersection during Pride. But the high cost to install the crosswalks each October has prompted organizers to shelve their idea.
Instead, Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks announced Monday that it will give its remaining funds – raised through donations – to seven LGBT and gay-friendly groups.
“Although the crosswalks did bring tremendous joy to the City during Pride, it came at significant expense. The costs to permit, mobilize, paint, and 'remove' the crosswalks well exceeded the cost of doing a permanent installation, a situation we don’t see as the best use of community funds,” according to a Facebook post from the group that was signed by Robert Sepulveda, Jr., Wes Berry and Jonathan Shapero.
Organizers worked to make the rainbow crosswalks permanent at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue. But the installation turned into a two-week temporary project after a back-and-forth between supporters and city officials. The city apparently initially OK'd the crosswalks as a permanent installation but then pulled back when the Department of Public Works objected over safety concerns.
After the temporary installation last October organizers hoped an online petition that gained nearly 4,500 signatures would help convince city officials to make the project permanent. But the effort didn't work, organizers said.
So the group dished out what's left to several groups:
- Georgia Equality: $3,180.80
- Lost-n-Found Youth: $3,180.80
- Piedmont Park Conservancy: $1817.60
- Living Room: $2,726.40
- Out on Film: $2,726.40
- PAWS Atlanta: $1363.20
- St. Mark’s United Methodist Church: $1,363.20
“Thank you for your support and understanding; we achieved something magical, we made Atlanta history, and that's something that can't be taken away or painted over,” the group said Monday.
Some 221 donations raised $44,911 last fall during a Kickstarter campaign to make the crosswalks possible. The temporary installation last October and startup costs totaled $21,617.86 and the group refunded a $2,500 donation, organizers have said. And the remaining $16,358.41 goes to the seven organizations. (Organizers could not be immediately reached to explain the $4,434.73 difference between the amount of the donations, expenses and refund, and what they donated to non-profits this week.)
UPDATE | Organizers said they also refunded a second donation for $5,000.
UPDATE (Sept. 4) | Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks is listed as “active/noncompliance” with the Georgia Secretary of State. It registered with that agency in August 2015 and hasn't renewed the annual registration for 2016. Two of its three officers have moved on, leaving Sepulveda as CEO. In a Sept. 1 post to the organization's Facebook page, Sepulveda referred to himself as its “former president” and said Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks has no active projects and that its non-profit status won't be renewed.