JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – After a public hearing in Johnson City, a task force formed by the regional planning commission did not come to a decision on where to recommend changing the name of a street to honor a civil rights leader.
The Johnson City/Washington County of the NAACP has been pushing for at least six years. Thursday, that task force received over 40 comments from Johnson City residents for and against renaming a street but there was no decision.
The task force reviewed comments for particular streets, “my interest is for University Parkway to be named for MLK Jr,” a citizen wrote.
Others were totally against the idea.
“He has so many streets and monuments named after him I think it is overkill,” a citizen wrote.
This task force formed by the Johnson City Regional Planning Commission is considering three streets, a portion of University Parkway, East and West King Street, or Legion Street.
The task force discussed that over 200 addressed would need to be changed if they recommended the University Parkway option. Johnson City’s Development Services Director, Angie Carrier said E911 and GIS staff do not recommend the University Parkway option due to public safety concerns.
The Johnson City/Washington County chapter of the NAACP has been pushing for this for years.
“Anytime you start trying to do change for something that significant and you’re involving a lot of people, you just need to take it slow,” chapter president, Ralph Davis said.
David added that the NAACP is leaning towards the University Parkway location because of it’s visibility.
City Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin said it’s important for our community to honor Dr. King’s legacy saying this is the furthest the topic has come in the years it’s been discussed.
“Sometimes it has to do with leadership, sometimes it has to do with leadership in the black community, sometimes it has to do with leadership within the commission,” Van Brocklin said.
The task force also discussed making the King Street option a package deal with the upcoming Kings Common Park.
“It was a significant step forward in the process. it was a good time to remember tonight that it’s not important to get it done but to get it done right,” Planning commission chairman Tim Zajonc said.
Task force leaders said they’re not going to rush this process and this a step in the right direction.
The regional planning commission’s next meeting is Sep.12.
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