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Atlantic City to Spend $36,000 to Repaint BLM Street Tribute After Driver Confusion

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After a city council vote Wednesday, Atlantic City will repaint the Black Lives Matter tribute which confused drivers on the street.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard street mural honoring Black Lives Matter would be repainted smaller, due to driver confusion caused by its massive yellow lettering. “It was an oversight on our part, and when we realized it, we fixed it,” Small said Thursday.

During the Wednesday night meeting, Acting Police Chief James Sarkos told the council the mural violated state Department of Transportation regulations, forcing them to close the street to prevent accidents. City Council member LaToya Dunston accused the city of wasting tax dollars without knowing the rules that govern such projects.

The mural was the result of a September 2020 community event, in which volunteers donated paint, materials, and their own time to cover that section in block letters reading “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” The mural was a compromise between city officials and activists who wanted to paint it on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, meant to avoid further conflict during the racial justice riots following the death of George Floyd last summer.

The tribute was created with paint that cannot be painted over, so the city will have to repave that section completely. On Wednesday, the City Council voted to invest $36,000 in an effort to keep the mural, but make it more unobtrusive, and shift its lettering away from the lane dividers it currently obscures.