FLORENCE — The City Council cleared the way Tuesday for the Paint for Pride group to chalk rainbows at the two Mobile Street crosswalks at the Court Street intersection.

The council unanimously approved a resolution that was added to the agenda during the meeting. The decision, which was greeted with applause from many attending the meeting, comes after the city of Florence had removed a Pride rainbow design last week that had been drawn in chalk at the intersection.

"They righted a wrong and I'm very appreciative of the common sense and just doing the right thing," said Stuart Ausbon, one of the people who coordinated the chalk project.

The chalk may remain until July 1, the resolution states. The Pride group is responsible for removing it.

Ausbon said organizers will coordinate with Florence police so there will be no traffic issues when they chalk the crosswalks.

He said he does not know when they will do the work but they will check the weather forecast since rain is expected and he wants the chalk to remain as fresh as possible for the annual Equality March for Unity and Pride, which is June 29 downtown.

Representatives of Equality Shoals and Shoals Diversity Center had said they were led to believe they had authorization for the chalking, which is why they went forward with it. City officials said there was miscommunication involved.

During the meeting, Ausbon said washing away the chalk seemed like a symbolic gesture against the LGBT community, and the rainbow symbol they created had been intended as one of "love, acceptance and equality."

"It never crossed my mind that this beautiful symbol of love, acceptance and equality would be so swiftly removed," he said.

However, Ausbon added he is not surprised by Tuesday's decision to allow the chalk work.

"I knew that this wonderful and loving village that surrounds me and my family and friends would win out," he said. "That's the Florence I know and the Florence that we all love."

Terry Shelby also spoke during the meeting, thanking the council for its decision.

"When it's all said and done we're all equal," Shelby said. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your vote."

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski


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