TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: Council Naming Committee
Mayor pro tem Wiggins, Chair Council Member Greene
Council Member Strom
Council Member Ward
SUBJECT: Continuation of Public Forum on a Proposal to Rename Airport Road in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Consideration of Options
DATE: June 14, 2004
Tonight the Council continues a public forum on a proposal to rename Airport Road in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This forum provides an opportunity for the Town Council to receive further comments and questions regarding the renaming proposal, and to discuss the options evaluated by the Council Naming Committee in arriving at its recommendations.
The Council Naming Committee requests that the Council consider taking action tonight on the following resolutions that are recommended by the Committee:
RESOLUTION A - A Resolution requesting that the name of Airport Road be changed to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard within the Chapel Hill Corporate Limits.
RESOLUTION B - A Resolution changing the address of Town Hall from North Columbia Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
RESOLUTION C - A Resolution establishing a task force to study and make recommendations on additional means and methods for the Town of Chapel Hill to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
RESOLUTION D - A Resolution directing the Manager to work with the residents of the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Street to identify an acceptable new street name.
Committee and Forum Process
In January 2004, Mayor pro tem Wiggins brought forward a request from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that the Town Council consider renaming Airport Road in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Council referred the matter to the Council Naming Committee for consideration.
The Naming Committee met to discuss this matter on January 29 and February 20, 2004. Concurrent with the Committee’s meetings, Town staff contacted the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to confirm whether it would be possible to rename Airport Road (also designated as State Highway NC 86) and, if so, to determine the process and procedures that would be necessary to implement a name change. Please see Attachment 1 for information about the process for renaming State roads in North Carolina.
On March 22, 2004, the Committee recommended and the Council agreed to schedule a public forum for April 19, 2004, to provide an opportunity for interested citizens to comment on the renaming proposal. Attachment 2 includes materials presented at the March 22 meeting.
A public forum was conducted by the Council on April 19, 2004. Comments and questions from citizens were referred to the Committee for consideration, and the forum was recessed until May 24, 2004. Please see Attachment 3 for materials presented at the April 19 forum.
A continuation of the April 19th public forum was held on May 24, 2004. Materials presented at the May 24th meeting are provided in Attachment 4. The comments and questions of Council members and citizens were referred to the Committee for additional consideration, and the forum was recessed until June 14, 2004.
Tonight the Council continues the process of considering the petitioner’s request, options considered by the Council Naming Committee, citizens’ comments, and the Committee’s recommendations in a third session of the public forum. Attachment 5 includes correspondence we have received subsequent to preparing the materials for the May 24th meeting.
NCDOT Road Naming Procedures
The North Carolina Department of Transportation provided the Committee with a copy of its standard procedures and requirements for establishing honorary names for State roadways. A copy of the State procedures and requirements is attached, including notes from Town staff to the Committee highlighting key points of the State renaming process. Please see Attachment 1.
The Committee considered several roads that might be renamed in honor of Dr. King. The roads considered were:
· Airport Road (NC 86) from its southern terminus (at North Street) to the northern Town limits.
· A segment of US 15-501/NC 54 Bypass to be determined.
· NC 54/Raleigh Road/South Road from the eastern Town limits to South Columbia Street.
· Weaver Dairy Road Extension from Airport Road (NC 86) to Homestead Road.
· The full length of Estes Drive between Greensboro Street (in Carrboro) to and including Estes Drive Extension east of Fordham Boulevard.
The Committee discussed the alternatives and recommended Airport Road as the preferred candidate. The Committee’s second choice for renaming was the NC 54/Raleigh Road/South Road corridor.
The Committee determined that the US 15-501/NC 54 Bypass would not be a viable candidate because it already bears an honorary name, Fordham Boulevard, in honor of Christopher Fordham, former Chancellor of the University of North Carolina.
Collaboration with Town of Carrboro
Representatives of the Town of Carrboro expressed interest in renaming a road that travels through both communities in honor of Dr. King. The Committee concluded that a joint endeavor would not be practical, because neither the Committee’s first-choice (Airport Road) nor second-choice (NC 54/Raleigh Road/South Road) extend into Carrboro.
Addresses Affected by Renaming of Airport Road
All properties on Airport Road that now are assigned specific street addresses would have street name address changes if the name of the road is changed. Persons and businesses affected would need to notify all with whom they wish to correspond and all who now send mail to them of the address change. In addition, all persons and businesses affected would need to modify: building address markers and signs; stationery, business cards and forms, and other printed media on which addresses were shown; computer files, Internet-based files, and other electronic forms of information; telephone directories, business directories and other reference documents whether in print or electronic form; and any other material or site that stores their addresses and that is important to them.
As we understand it, standard procedure is that once a “change of address card” is filed with the United States Postal Service, mail will be delivered with either the old address or the new address for a period of up to one year. It is also our understanding, following further discussions with postal authorities, that it is possible that the post office mail distribution equipment could be programmed to automatically recognize the address change regardless of whether or not a change of address card was submitted. However, mail designated by the sender as “Do Not Forward” would be returned to the sender and would not be forwarded to an address other than that posted on the mailing.
At an earlier session of the forum, we reported that there are approximately 800 street addresses assigned on Airport Road, including: approximately 700 addresses for rental properties (such as apartments); approximately 100 addresses for business, commercial, or institutional properties; and approximately 25 addresses assigned to single-family residences. Some University properties and commercial properties have multiple sub-addresses using a single street address followed by letters or numbers for specific units. A citizen who spoke at the May 24, 2004, session of the forum reported that there also are about 200 private postal boxes at a business service address on Airport Road, bringing the known total to about 1,000 addresses.
There is an existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Chapel Hill that would need to be renamed if Dr. King’s name is used on Airport Road. Twelve street addresses are currently assigned to the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. This is a local street, and it would not require State approval for renaming.
Street Name Signs
All street name signs on Airport Road and the present street named after Dr. King would be changed if Airport Road is renamed Martin Luther King, Jr. Street (or boulevard, avenue, etc.). The estimated cost for changing street name signs on Airport Road and the present Martin Luther King, Jr. Street is about $17,000.
The Council conducts public forums on issues that it has under consideration in order to give all citizens an opportunity to inform the Council of their interests, concerns and desires; to provide a means for obtaining additional relevant information and testing information already brought forward; to create a safe and civil forum for all ideas to be presented and considered in a fair and deliberate manner; to ensure that community values are expressed, applied, and examined in the course of developing Town policies and allocating Town resources; and to give all citizens, whether in groups or standing as a solitary individual, a chance to be heard and to influence decisions on matters that are important to them.
The forum that the Council has been conducting on the proposal to rename Airport Road in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been in keeping with the community’s tradition of free and open exchange of information and opinion. The Naming Committee and all Council members have benefited from the vigorous participation of citizens who have spoken at the forum sessions, sent e-mail messages, written letters, made telephone calls and initiated personal discussions. The process has been valuable and has generated additional ideas that we believe are worthy of consideration by the community and the Council.
Based on consideration of all of the information presented to the Council by the original petitioners and by all of the citizens who have participated in the public process, the Naming Committee considered the original request made by the petitioner as well as alternative options for honoring Dr. King proposed by citizens during the public forums and/or via correspondence. The options considered by the Committee are described below:
Option One: Rename Airport Road as Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. This option is the original proposal that was put forward for consideration. Airport Road would be renamed for its full length, from its beginning where it intersects with North Columbia Street to its end at Interstate 40. Airport Road meets the necessary criteria (totally within the Town’s jurisdiction; primarily local traffic; not a controlled access facility) for the State Transportation Board’s Road and Bridge naming Committee to defer authority for renaming to the Town Council.
The benefits and impacts of this option have been thoroughly presented and discussed through the public process, and that information can be reviewed in the previous agenda items attached to this report and on the Town website.
Option Two, Part A: Create a Memorial Highway Honoring Dr. King. North Carolina Department of Transportation procedures allow for the memorial naming of highways in honor of individuals. If the Council chooses to pursue this option, the Committee suggests that all of NC 86 in Chapel Hill be designated as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Highway, from Interstate 40 in the north to the terminus of NC 86 at its intersection with NC 54 and US 15-501 in the south. If this option is selected, the Department of Transportation would allow large signs consistent with its standards to be installed at each end of the highway segment dedicated to the memory and legacy of Dr. King.
In addition to the signs that the Department of Transportation would allow, we believe it would be appropriate and important to provide monument-quality signage installations on at least two other locations. We have identified the following four possible locations for supplemental signs, and others could be determined upon more careful review.
In addition to a monumental sign of appropriate dimension, character and material we believe there should be four-season and perennial landscaping and adequate lighting at each location.
Under this option, street addresses would not change. The primary costs of this option would be associated with the installation of the monumental signs. We do not have a cost estimate, but believe that each installation would involve costs of $10,000 to $30,000 depending on details of design.
Option Two, Part B: Dedicate the Chapel Hill Public Library to the memory and legacy of Dr. King through naming and programming. This option is composed of multiple parts, not intended as an exclusive list, but as a beginning point for action. The elements described below could be important for our community as a memorial effort and as a source of community building.
We point out that we have not had an opportunity to present these ideas to the Library Board of Trustees. We mean no disrespect to the Trustees by this omission and recognize that they would have an important role in any work that involves the Town’s public library. We are certain that the Library Board would enrich our view of opportunities to honor Dr. King.
We believe that the public process followed by the Council has resulted in an honest and useful expression of interests and concerns, and that good ideas have come forward from citizens. One of the most important functions of a democratic government is to communicate openly with citizens -- by discussing plans and proposals, engaging in dialogue and debate, and obtaining feedback. We are grateful to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for initiating this community conversation through presentation of their petition. We are particularly grateful to all of the citizens who came to sessions of the forum, who wrote to us and telephoned us and visited with us in person. The work of the Naming Committee has been informed and instructed by your efforts.
The Council Naming Committee, after careful consideration of the original request and alternative options for honoring Dr. King, recommends that the Council adopt Resolution “A” that would initiate the process for changing the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, to be effective on May 9th, 2005.
The Committee further recommends that the Council adopt Resolution “B” that would change the street address of Town Hall from N. Columbia Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
The Committee believes that additional ways of honoring Dr. King should be explored, and therefore recommends that the Council adopt Resolution “C” that would establish a Task Force to investigate and make recommendations on other ways that the Town of Chapel Hill could honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Finally, the Committee recommends that the Council adopt Resolution “D” that would involve residents of the existing Martin Luther King Street in selecting a new street name.
1. State Renaming Process (p. 12).
2. March 22, 2004 Agenda Item (p. 18).
3. April 19, 2004 Agenda Item (p. 53).
4. May 24, 2004 Agenda Item (p. 97).
5. Recent Correspondence (p. 185).
A RESOLUTION REQUESTING THAT THE NAME OF AIRPORT ROAD BE CHANGED TO MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BOULEVARD WITHIN THE CHAPEL HILL CORPORATE LIMITS (2004-06-14/R-1a)
WHEREAS, the Town Council received a request from the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to consider changing the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard as a way of honoring Dr. King’s legacy; and
WHEREAS, the Council referred the request to the Council Naming Committee for consideration and recommendations; and
WHEREAS, the Council received public comment on the requested street name change during public forums on April 19, May 24 and June 14, 2004, and continues to receive written, email, and phone comments from interested citizens; and
WHEREAS, the Council Naming Committee considered all public comment received about this issue; and
WHEREAS, the Naming Committee considered the following options, and combinations thereof, for honoring Dr. King:
Change the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between I-40 in the north and North Street in the south.
Do not change the underlying street name and add the honorary name of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard for Airport Road and Columbia Street between I-40 in the north and Fordham Boulevard in the south.
Name or rename a Town facility in honor of Dr. King (e.g. all or part of the Town Library complex); and
WHEREAS, the Naming Committee unanimously agreed to recommend changing the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard; and
WHEREAS, the Naming Committee further agreed to recommend that other options for honoring Dr. King should be pursued in addition to the renaming of Airport Road;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council requests that the North Carolina Department of Transportation concur with changing the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between I-40 and North Street in Chapel Hill, to be effective on May 9th, 2005.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council directs the Town Manager to submit this renaming proposal through the appropriate channels of the North Carolina Department of Transportation and in accordance with State procedures for renaming requests.
This the 14th day of June, 2004.
A RESOLUTION CHANGING THE STREET ADDRESS OF TOWN HALL FROM NORTH COLUMBIA STREET TO MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BOULEVARD (2004-06-14/R-1b)
WHEREAS, the Town Council has requested that the North Carolina Department of Transportation allow the Town to change the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between I-40 and North Street in Chapel Hill; and
WHEREAS, the Council realizes that such a street name change would require that all existing Airport Road mailing addresses change accordingly; and
WHEREAS, the Town Hall property has frontage on both North Columbia Street and Airport Road and the Naming Committee believes that an additional means of honoring Dr. King would be to change the Town Hall street address from North Columbia Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council directs the Town Manager to take the steps necessary to change the street address of the Town Hall property from North Columbia Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, subject to approval of the Airport Road renaming by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
This the 14th day of June, 2004.
A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON ADDITIONAL MEANS AND METHODS FOR THE TOWN OF CHAPEL HILL TO HONOR THE MEMORY AND LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (2004-06-14/R-1c)
WHEREAS, the Town Council has taken action to honor Dr. King by requesting that the North Carolina Department of Transportation allow the Town to change the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard; and
WHEREAS, the Council realizes that other means of honoring Dr. King that were discussed by the Naming Committee and by interested citizens could be implemented in addition to renaming Airport Road; and
WHEREAS, the Council wishes to further investigate additional opportunities to honor Dr. King;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council directs the Town Manager to solicit applications for a Task Force to study and make recommendations for further honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force shall be made up of not more than twelve members including Town residents, community business representatives, University and school system representatives, and a Town Council representative.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force shall be charged to return to the Council with its recommendations within one year following its establishment.
This the 14th day of June, 2004.
A RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE MANAGER TO WORK WITH THE RESIDENTS OF THE EXISTING MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. STREET TO IDENTIFY AN ACCEPTABLE NEW STREET NAME (2004-06-14/R-1d)
WHEREAS, if the North Carolina Department of Transportation allows the Town to change the name of Airport Road to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, then the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Street off Legion Road in Chapel Hill would need to be renamed as well; and
WHEREAS, the Council desires that the residents of the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Street play a primary role in selecting a new street name; and
WHEREAS, once a new street name has been agreed upon by the residents, it will be presented to the Town Council for action;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council directs the Town Manager to work with the residents of the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Chapel Hill to identify an new street name; and to present the new name to the Town Council for action.
This the 14th day of June, 2004.