A permanent rainbow in New Milford: Town repaints its rainbow crosswalk downtown

Photo of Currie Engel
The rainbow crosswalk in downtown New Milford was repainted on Thursday

The rainbow crosswalk in downtown New Milford was repainted on Thursday

Photo courtesy of Jessica Reis

NEW MILFORD — A brightly colored rainbow is a permanent resident in New Milford.

The town repainted its rainbow crosswalk during their Bank Street Block Party in honor of Pride month on Thursday night.

Local business owner Elora Herberick spearheaded the initial painting of the crosswalk last June when Bank Street was shut down during the summer.

Herberick, who runs Evolve Yoga on Bank Street, was inspired to bring a rainbow crosswalk to the town after visiting Great Barrington, Mass., and seeing one there. She said she thought a crosswalk like that in New Milford would brighten up the downtown area and show support to the LGBTQ community.

But 12 months later, the initial paint was faded and needed repainting.

So, on Thursday night, a group of volunteers from the LGBTQ+ community set to work repainting the rainbow. This time, they used longer-lasting, more durable paint.

“We did it bigger, better. It’s permanent,” said Herberick.

Even though it was a simple art project, the impact of its message can be a big one, Herberick said.

After receiving initial positive responses to the painting of the crosswalk last year, Herberick said she wanted to make it more permanent. She talked to the mayor and the transportation department about making that a reality.

“I couldn’t have done it without the mayor’s support,” Herberick said.

Jessica Reis, whose Bank Street business, Reis Learning Center, is located near the crosswalk, said the painting process was a communitywide effort, bringing in different businesses and volunteers to make the rainbow a reality.

The materials for the repainting were provided by the Village Center for the Arts, located across the Green, and other volunteers helped paint the stripes. The town’s support was also integral in the project actually taking place, according to Reis.

“We're especially excited that this is now a permanent installation at the top of Bank [Street],” Reis wrote to Hearst Connecticut Media.

It’s not the first rainbow crosswalk to grace the region.

In Litchfield, two local mothers started an initiative through their group, Litchfield Pride, to paint a crosswalk on North Lake Street at the community field. They got town approval for the project in April, but did the actual painting in early June.

The repainting of the crosswalk on Bank Street also follows another New Milford Pride celebration.

Last weekend, residents organized one of the town’s first known Pride events — a picnic on the town green — sponsored by Southern Litchfield Pride, a new group started by three New Milford residents. At the time of the picnic, Bass also put a pride flag outside of Town Hall.

Roughly 125 people were in attendance at the picnic, according to organizer Lauren Burke. Afterward, Burke said that they had lots of sign-ups for their new group, which was one of the goals of the event.

This past week, Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo caught flack from local activists and leaders after raising a Pride flag at City Hall without input from the LGBTQ+ community.

The mayor said usually groups reach out to City Hall to plan the events and raise a flag months in advance.