Rainbow-colored crosswalk unveiled as symbol of Saratoga Springs welcoming environment | Local News

The Four Percent

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Pride Month is underway in Saratoga Springs, where a new rainbow-colored crosswalk has been installed as a symbol of the city’s continued open and welcoming environment, and ongoing support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The crosswalk, made possible through a combination of private donations and support from the City of Saratoga Springs, is located on Spring Street between the Congress Park carousel and the Hathorn Spring.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new crosswalk was held as part of a Pride Month kick-off celebration, which drew a large number of attendees.

Among the supporters that spoke at the event were Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton, Congressman Paul Tonko, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, Skidmore College president Marc C. Conner, Caroline Putman of the Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund, Meaghan McEntee of Saratoga Pride and Nathanial Gray representing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The debut of the colorful crosswalk has been long-awaited by project leaders. Dalton shared that local organization Saratoga Pride originally approached the city about this initiative in January 2020, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans to unveil the crosswalk last June were postponed to 2021.

Though the past year has been challenging, “At the end of every storm, sometimes we are lucky enough to spot a rainbow,” Dalton said. “Here we are emerging from this horrible pandemic and we, too, have been blessed with a rainbow.”

Dalton spoke of how the crosswalk is meant to showcase the acceptance and diversity of the Spa City. “Saratoga Springs is an incredibly supportive community,” she said in a press release, “and this crosswalk will serve as a permanent symbolic welcome mat for all to see and appreciate as they enter the city.”

Tonko also commented on the crosswalk and what it represents.

“I couldn’t help but imagine that with every step you take across that crosswalk, we’ll be reminded of the many steps taken forward, the many marches of advocacy that continue to push the agenda of fairness, justice and what’s a progessive agenda for those of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.

Woerner expressed her support as well.

“It doesn’t matter who you love or how you identify – everybody deserves dignity and respect,” she said, acknowledging the steps made by the New York State Assembly in recent years to support the LGBTQ+ community.

On behalf of the governor’s office, Gray presented event organizers with a proclamation stating that June is LGBTQ Pride Month in New York state. Gray reviewed major milestones in the state’s expanding support of the LGBTQ+ community, from the Stonewall riots in New York City to the passing of marriage equality 10 years ago to recent changes like passing the Walking While Trans bill and the Child Parent Security Act regarding gestational surrogacy.

Locally, the Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund provides ongoing support for Saratoga Pride, including the initial fundraising grant for the crosswalk project. At Thursday’s event, Putman said the organization’s grant application was approved because it directly addressed its programs, ideas and future of the community.

Representing Skidmore College, Conner said, “At Skidmore we are so proud and so honored to support our LGBTQIA+ population,” noting that the school is also honored to be part of the diversity of the Saratoga Springs community.

McEntee, who spoke as a Saratoga Pride representative, thanked the crowd gathered for joining in celebration of what she called a “beautiful, colorful moment” in local history.

“We invite you to remember this moment each time you cross the street or drive on through,” she said. “We invite you to remember this moment of gathering and celebration and love and identity the next time you have the chance to tell someone that they are safe to be who they are when they are with you.”

At the most recent City Council meeting before the kick-off event, Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly read a proclamation declaring June as Saratoga Pride Month and recognizing Saratoga Pride for its humanitarian work.

“In recent times our citizens have added to our good reputation by providing a supportive and understanding community for many diverse groups,” she said. “Although it is not a part of our city’s motto, ‘Health, History and Horses,’ a fourth letter ‘H’ – Human Rights – is extremely important to us.”

Saratoga Pride has several upcoming Pride Month events such as a miniature golf night, a drag brunch, a cocktail hour, a bike ride and a virtual series called “Saratoga Pride in Reading.”

More details about these events can be found online at www.saratogapride.com.

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