MLK road discussion continues
AHOSKIE – After holding a workshop Thursday to discuss the prospect of renaming one of Ahoskie’s streets, not much has changed since last week.
On Oct. 10, the Ahoskie Town Council held a public hearing to discuss the possibility of renaming a street to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A decision on that matter was to be tabled until the council could hold a workshop to allow local residents to offer suggestions on which street would be better suited to rename after the slain civil rights leader.
When Thursday night’s meeting concluded, the council still had not reached a decision on which street would possibly be renamed, though amending Memorial Drive appeared to be the most favored solution.
While adding the name of Dr. King to Memorial Drive was the most popular of several proposed locations, Mayor Linda Blackburn informed everyone in attendance that the post office would hold the city to strict guidelines on address changes.
&uot;The people at the post office have said that a full address change would be incurred by any private or commercial properties on that thoroughfare,&uot; Blackburn said. &uot;Letterheads, financial documents and other business specific documents would have to be changed to comply with the new street name.&uot;
In the absence of a set of guidelines for renaming city streets, the council has resolved itself to accepting suggestions from the community.
Eleven people showed up for Thursday’s workshop and several offered suggestions for the council to consider.
Reverend Richard Rice of First Presbyterian Church in Ahoskie suggested the council rename the railroad bridge that crosses Memorial Drive.
&uot;I believe that location is the highest point in the city,&uot; Rice said. &uot;It would be symbolic and would not require as much approval from citizens.&uot;
Town Councilman Ronald Gatling said the citizens he spoke to weren’t sticklers for any particular street.
&uot;I believe that most citizens are flexible about which street to rename,&uot; Gatling said. &uot;Memorial Drive has just been the most popular choice.&uot;
During last week’s meeting a debate arose over the suggestion of many citizens to rename Catherine Creek (CC) Road.
Several citizens were opposed to changing the name of CC Road because of its historical significance.
Blackburn was adamant that the council attempt to consider the proposals of all of the town’s citizens as well as make every effort to present the issue to any and all residents and businesses before making a decision.
&uot;It’s my desire to allow people to have input in the process,&uot; Blackburn said. &uot;I don’t believe that we should be thinking for the residents and business owners on Memorial Drive.&uot;
Annie Mobley, who was a proponent of the CC Road renaming at the Oct. 10 meeting,
was not opposed to the idea of renaming Memorial Drive, but was certain that the community did not want First Street to be the target of the name change.
&uot;I would favor Memorial Drive over Catherine Creek,&uot; Mobley said. &uot;I don’t want the street to placed in the ghetto.&uot;
Blackburn said the next step was to poll the business owners and residents on Memorial Drive to get their feelings on the matter.
&uot;We have a chance to do something, but I want to do it right,&uot; Blackburn said. &uot;We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.&uot;