Giant rainbow flag to fly over Hillcrest

Harvey MilkHalloween

SAN DIEGO - The eastern end of Hillcrest is about to get a new landmark.

Community leaders in Hillcrest want a giant rainbow flag to go up in the median on the corner of University Avenue and Normal Street.

"The rainbow flag has traditionally been the symbol of the pride movement - the struggle for LGBT and gay rights," said Benjamin Nicholls of the Hillcrest Business Association.

"It's just a great spot because so many things start right here in Hillcrest right on Normal Street.," said Hillcrest business owner Chris Shaw. "There's 'Nightmare on Normal Street,' the Halloween bash that happens here. You have the farmers' market that happens here that's so incredible. There are so many things that happen here at this end of Hillcrest."

A similar flag flies over Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, the world famous gay district in San Francisco. People who are familiar with it think one here is a great idea.

"I live about two blocks up the street on University and Georgia, and I think it's a fantastic idea.," said Jason Defresne. "I'm a hundred percent for it."

"Hillcrest is about tolerance and diversity and acceptance, and we want to say it in as loud a way as possible," said Nicholls. "So a large flag -- the largest legally allowable -- is what we're trying to do."

The proposed flag would be about 20 feet by 30 feet in size and would fly from a 65 foot pole.

"This is a festive neighborhood," said Robin Wright who lives a few streets away. "It's a festive flag, affirming for everybody, and I think it's cool."

Most of the $40,000 needed to fund the project have already been raised through private donations and community events.

"There are better things to do with the money, but I guess if the people in Hillcrest are alright with it, then I think it's up to the people who live here," said Joshua Pickens of La Mesa. "If they're alright with it, then why not?"

Because it's on public land, the proposal still needs to go before the San Diego Planning Commission.

Organizers hope to begin construction on the pole in June so they can raise the rainbow flag at this year's gay pride parade slated for July 21.

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