SARATOGA SPRINGS – A colorful change has taken place at one of the city’s busiest off-Broadway crosswalks, the one at the carousel entrance to Congress Park, which links the popular park to the Hathorn Spring, parking facilities, and downtown businesses.
The crosswalk on Spring Street at Putnam Street earlier this week was painted with rainbow colors between the white crosswalk bars, as a project of Saratoga Pride. The advocacy group provided the paint and is planning to officially debut the new crosswalk look at a ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 3, to mark the beginning of Pride Month, which is June.
Pride Month celebrates support for the LGBTQ+ community. A “rainbow” of colors is often used to symbolize the diversity of the community.
The family-friendly ribbon-cutting event will be held by the historic carousel in Congress Park, organizers said. Saratoga Pride said there will be performance and art activities provided by Saratoga Arts Center and C.R.E.A.T.E Community Studios, and group photos will be permitted in the newly painted crosswalk.
There has been some criticism of the new color pattern on social media, but city Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton said she supported it. Her social media feed was full of praise from the public for the effort.
Dalton said Saratoga Pride first reached out to her about re-painting a downtown crosswalk in February 2020, but the pandemic made it impossible to follow through until now. The location was recommended by the city’s traffic division, and Saratoga Pride paid the roughly $1,500 cost.
“It has been a phenomenal process. We are a welcoming and open community that supports our neighbors,” said Dalton, who is running for mayor this year as an independent candidate. By and large, the reaction has been tremendous. Some people are cranky about it on Facebook, but the overwhelming support has been tremendous.”
While the color pattern is meant to recognize the Pride community, Dalton said the color scheme has the added benefit that children are fascinated by it. “It actually really focuses the kids on the crosswalk,” she said. “My four-year-old really thought it was magical.”
Saratoga Pride said support and donations came from the Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund, KeyBank, PDT Catering, Skidmore College, The Goodridge Team at Keller Williams real estate and many other generous community members who contributed.
Saratoga Pride also singled out the city of Saratoga Springs, Mayor Meg Kelly and Dalton for their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Dalton said she likes public art and would be open to having installations at other locations, “if they have an uplifting message and are welcoming.”