BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Rainbow hearts from an LGBTQ Pridefest are stirring controversy in downtown Bloomington.

Last month, The Bistro, hosted its annual downtown Pridefest with around 6-7,000 attendees from all over Central Illinois. To add to the event, Bistro owner, Jan Lancaster drew rainbow hearts on Main Street to spruce up the block.

“I was notified in the last few days that we needed to remove the art installation,” Lancaster said.

For Pridefest, The Bistro blocked off two blocks of the street outside their bar which requires them to obtain a special use permit from the city.

“It has to be put in place while the road is closed at the start of the event, but the permit also requires that the artwork be removed while the road is closed at the end of the event,” said the city’s external affairs manager, Katherine Murphy.

Lancaster said the hearts were drawn on with washable chalk and hoped they’d eventually fade away. Now, she’s hired a contractor to power wash them off.

“My contractor said the sun affected it and they’re on there pretty good,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster said it was a misunderstanding with the city, but if she doesn’t remove the hearts soon she could be denied permits to host Pride and other events in the future.

“I took that as meaning it could jeopardize us doing our PRIDE event again next year,” Lancaster said.

“I just think there could have been a much better approach to it,” said Prarie Pride Coalition president, Dave Bentlin.

Bentlin said he understands the city has regulations, but believes there are bigger issues facing downtown than rainbow hearts.

“In this day and age when we’re experiencing so much divisiveness, I can’t imagine that people can find a complaint with rainbow hearts,” Bentlin said.

Bentlin and Lancaster hope one day the city agrees to a permanent display of art on the streets promoting LGBT pride and most importantly, love.

“This is an area we consider to be a very friendly area and we want things like rainbow hearts and rainbow crosswalks that help show it is an inclusive and safe area for our community,” Bentlin said.

Murphy said the removal has nothing to do with the message, adding the city believes and wants to be a place for all to feel welcome.

“It really just has to do with the special use permit. It would apply to anyone; had they four blocks over had done the same thing it would apply to them as well,” Murphy said.

Lancaster said she’s not upset with the city and will have the hearts removed as soon as she can. However, she plans on filling the streets with chalked-on love and kindness next year.

“It was such a beautiful event, PRIDE this year and this added so much to that event. I’ve heard from so many people that they just drive down the street and it’s just great to see,” Lancaster said.