FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — The City of Fort Lauderdale won’t tolerate skid marks on their rainbow-colored “Tolerance” flag painted on Sebastian Street.
Police are continuing to investigate an incident from February 28, when a driver “vandalized” the colorful asphalt by burning out the rear-tires of his half-ton pickup truck.
“Your message of hate is not wanted in the city of Fort Lauderdale,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis in response to the incident. “Whether they were pranksters or people who were just after to show that intolerance is what they live by. It’s not desired in our city. We are not going to accept it.”
“The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is deeply disturbed this incident took place,” Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Lynn said in a statement at the time. “We stand in support of our LGBTQ community and will continue to gather details surrounding this vandalism.”
Ben Rogers, the city’s Director of Transportation & Mobility, provided an update on the pricey pavement at the city commissioners meeting on May 2.
“Right now, we’ve got some active investigations going on with the [police department] for some of the vandalism,” Rogers said. “We don’t have any major movement on making corrective actions at this time because I believe it’s being secured as evidence.”
FIVE-FIGURE REPAIR COSTS
Repairs were originally estimated at roughly $1,000, according to WSVN, but Rogers now expects it will be closer to $10,000.
“Unfortunately, the cost to repair includes taking all of the elements down and then putting them back on,” he said. “It’s quite costly.”
Trantalis said he’s received $3,000 in private donations and expects to get the remaining $7,000 so that the city can avoid using taxpayer dollars to repaint the massive flag.
While tax dollars may not be spent in repainting the flag, they are being used to fund the investigation and police have offered up to $5,000 in reward money for members of the public who help them catch the perpetrator.
City Commissioner Steven Glassman questioned the logic behind placing protected symbols on a roadway.
“It is unsightly the way it is. I think going forward we might need to rethink applications on the street as opposed to some other sort of marker,” Glassman said. “It really doesn’t look good.”