Street mural leaves DeFuniak Springs residents on the fence

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
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DeFuniak Springs, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - DeFuniak Springs officials say they want the city to be a destination spot for tourists. One way of doing this is by promoting the arts.

“It’s been a bit of a collaborative effort between Main Street and the city, and also with the Tree and Beautification Board,” said City Beautification & Tree Board Chair Kim Wennerberg. “We’re all trying to work together to make downtown more interesting and more of a destination.”

Wennerberg said adding an artistic element to the area beautifies it.

“When the downtown is beautified we’re going to get more visitors, more people to invest in our economy and in our downtown,” Wennerberg said.

However, one street painting in particular continues to be controversial.

“The one that’s on Baldwin Avenue, that is the street painting, that was so controversial, unfortunately that was taxpayer [dollars],” Wennerberg said. “As I understand it, from hearing from the city council, the total cost to date is roughly $55,000.”

The project was intended to be more than art, though. City officials said this street mural was part of a safety project, intended to slow drivers down.

It has caused controversy because many say they don’t like it.

Wennerberg said the city had the board conduct a survey on the street painting. More than 750 people participated in the survey. Wennerberg said the majority of the reactions have been negative.

“Even the mural here, I know there’s been a lot of opposition about it in whether they like it or not, but, you know, if you go overhead and with a lot of people flying over, they know where DeFuniak is,” said local Greg Brack.

The future of the street painting remains unclear.

You can make your voice heard about the DeFuniak Springs street painting by participating in a survey. Officials say the results should be finalized within the next two weeks.

They will then be presented to the city council later this month.

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