If all goes according to plan, one of Denver's most colorful neighborhoods will soon get a rainbow.
Buffalo Exchange on Broadway, various neighborhood-business associations and Councilman Jolon Clark of District 7 have been raising money to install rainbow crosswalks, such as those in Atlanta and Philadelphia, at Broadway and West Irvington Place to represent LGBTQ+ pride.
Todd Colletti, owner of Buffalo Exchange, notes that this stretch of Broadway is used during PrideFest as a runway for a fashion competition. When the stoplight turns red, "drag queens and all the fabulous people strut across the street" and the winner gets a $1,000 prize, he says. "We thought, let's take it up a notch this year and do a rainbow crosswalk."
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After Clark heard about the idea, he helped Colletti and other business owners in the area launch a website, broadwayrainbowcrosswalk.weebly.com, with information about the project and a way for people to donate. Installing the permanent pavement markers in rainbow colors — paint would disappear too quickly — will cost $25,000, which the groups backing the project are hoping to raise. The project had collected $10,535 as of March 27.
Colletti says the goal is to install the crosswalks by the beginning of June, in time to kick off Pride Month. The community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the project, he adds, although a handful of naysayers have balked at the cost.
The crosswalks will symbolize the community's inclusiveness, but also speak to the need for bold messaging in the current political climate. "It's a very divisive time, and there's a lot of anger and groups of people who feel like they're not being represented and being left out," Clark says. "This is ... a way we as a city and community can wrap our arms around the LBGTQ community and tell them how much we value them, care about them and love them in a very tangible and visible way."