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Chalking Boise’s sidewalks wasn’t legal. Now it is… for now

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Until today, drawing on the sidewalks with chalk in the City of Boise wasn’t legal.

But last night, the City of Boise took approved an ordinance changing course. To make it happen, it added the business to the council’s calendar after the usual cutoff deadline, and suspended the usual rules that would require the panel to bring it forward for three readings before passing it into law.

The new law allows non-permanent, non-toxic chalk markings on sidewalks. AKA: chalk art. It modifies Boise City Code on sidewalk markings that dates to 1952.

[With problems increasing, portion of Boise’s Table Rock will close]

“It may seem unusual to walk something on and pass it in one motion,” Council President Elaine Clegg said. “There is good reason to do this. Our ordinance as written does not allow chalk drawing on sidewalks. There are some people who do it, especially kids. In this time, when we are unable to have our usual fireworks display and other Fourth of July celebrations, it seems like a real opportunity to encourage people to stay home in their own neighborhood and celebrate Fourth of July.”

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The city used to hosts a chalk art festival in Ann Morrison Park as part of Independence Day celebrations. No city-sponsored Fourth of July events will take place this year due to COVID.

Just for kids…

Clegg said she didn’t intend for the law to allow for other types of chalk art on sidewals.

“If people abuse it, I will be happy to bring it back and repeal,” she said. “This isn’t done so we can start using our sidewalks for statements and other things like that. This is done so people can enjoy what can and should be a real fun activity with their families.”

The law amends city code to say “It is not an offense… for a person to engage in expressive conduct on the public sidewalks using non-permanent, non-toxic chalk in a manner that dos not obstruct or interfere with the use of the sidewalks.”

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