Harrisonburg Staff Now Eyes Avenue For Martin Luther King Jr. Rename
Posted: March 8, 2013
HARRISONBURG — How does Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge sound?
Cantrell Avenue is the “most promising” option for a Harrisonburg street to be renamed after the civil rights activist, City Councilman Charles Chenault said.
City staff had been reviewing Vine Street, per a resident’s request, as the street to change. But with more than 500 addresses, it was proving to be “unworkable,” Chenault said.
With Cantrell — which runs from South High Street to East Market Street, and includes a bridge between High and Main streets — fewer addresses would need switching.
Stacy Turner, director of Harrisonburg planning and community development, said about 50 addresses would be affected. She says Cantrell would be a better option than Vine because of the smaller number of addresses and that it was still “very visible.”
Chenault said Cantrell’s status as a “major artery” that feeds onto East Market Street is a factor.
Stan Maclin, the city resident who proposed to City Council last month that a street be named in King’s honor, said he supports Cantrell’s candidacy. He had identified Vine Street because it was a well-traveled street close to the city’s Northeast neighborhood, which was an early settlement for freed slaves.
“[Cantrell] is a major street, too,” said Maclin, founder of the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center in downtown Harrisonburg. “I think they’ll do decent about naming a big street.”
Chenault said council members are “committed” to renaming a road after King, and would like to do so sooner rather than later.
Staff is working on the matter. No formal procedure for renaming streets exists in the city code, but council has the authority to change titles.
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