Following news that the recently passed state budget contains $4 million for the construction of a new terminal at the Raleigh Exec Jetport in Lee County, the Rant has learned that it also contains $40,000 in funding for “mural restoration” in downtown Sanford.

Senate Bill 257, or the Appropriations Act of 2017 for short, calls for roughly $23 billion in spending during fiscal year 2017-18 and was passed by both the state House and state Senate in recent days. While the budget’s future is uncertain – Governor Roy Cooper is expected to veto the measure, although Republicans have the legislative numbers to override such an action – in its current form, a small fraction of the spending has been directed to the city of Sanford’s mural program.

The mural program launched in 2013 with the painting of a horse-drawn carriage on a building along North Steele Street. Since then, public art downtown has sort of exploded, with murals depicting Sanford’s professional baseball team, its contributions to World War II, early leaders in the African American community, and more. Most of the funding to date has come from private sources.

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The murals have been the subject of plenty of media attention from outside the area, including television spots and a podcast by the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

The city’s appearance commission announced via Facebook on Wednesday that it had received a $5,000 grant from Duke Energy for the next mural, which will depict the Fairview Dairy on the side of Yarborough’s in downtown Sanford:

The budget proposal, meanwhile, has come under fire from both sides of the political spectrum for its use of earmarks. At least one legislative Democrat argued that it “redirects taxpayer dollars from the basics to reward loyalty,” while the Moore County-based right-wing blog the Daily Haymaker opined that Republicans have damaged their claim to “smaller government and fiscal conservatism.”

Anyway, we’re probably getting some more murals downtown. Hooray!

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