Amid changes in Newark, Elkton Road to become South Main Street
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 22:10
This fall, businesses like Claymont Steak Shop are preparing to adjust to the change in name from Elkton Road to South Main Street, taking effect Jan. 1, steak shop manager, Holly Jones says.
The most annoying part of the name change is the extra paperwork involved with changing the menus, business cards and fliers, Jones says. Anything with the old address on it now needs to be updated and redistributed.
Vendors who supply the steak shop must be updated on the change, Jones says, though she does not think it will be a huge issue.
“Most of the people delivering the items we need are from here, so they know what is around here and they know the area,” says Jones. The name change should not confuse them that much.”
Changing a portion of Elkton Road’s name to South Main Street will be the first step in the process of rebranding Newark’s image and encouraging visitors to the town, Mayor Vance A. Funk III says.
Elkton Road business owners have had problems with marketing and attracting foot traffic.
“About 95 percent of owners of buildings and businesses on Elkton wanted the change, and needed it to improve marketing and business,” Funk says. “It was something almost everybody wanted; you don’t get that very often.”
The entire process began about eight months ago and involved many different steps, including contacting the police department, fire department, post office and the state of Delaware, Funk says. Discussion of the idea for the change first originated in January and City Council voted on it in July.
Jones says she knew the city was considering the name change for a while, but she did not receive a formal letter until the summer.
While she says she thinks the name change will be a positive thing, she is not sure it will actually help business. Jones says she is just excited to see the construction end and the road get back to normal.
“Construction has 100 percent hurt business,” Jones says. “To fight it we have had to do a lot more marketing than we ever would have to in the past. People used to naturally drive by the shop, but now people are avoiding Elkton altogether.”
According to Funk, the last time he spoke to the construction company they were a little ahead of schedule and aim to be done by mid-November.
Senior Sydney Andrews lives in the Madeline Crossing apartment complex on Elkton Road. Andrews says she is excited to have more restaurants and business on the street but is worried the road’s name change could cause confusion for outside visitors.
“I think re-imaging Elkton to paint a better picture of Newark as a whole will work, but I’m not sure if changing the name is necessary to make this happen,” Andrews says. “Personally, I just don’t think the name change is worth the hassle.”
Andrews believes new businesses and restaurants will do a lot for Newark, she says and adding foot traffic to Elkton can improve the feel of the road and definitely make the area seem less “sketchy.”
She says she believes the addition of new restaurants, apartments and businesses will increase revenue for the town, as well as attract even more new growth on the street.
According to Funk, Elkton Road is not the only thing changing around Newark. After the renaming is completed, Funk says he plans to work on the Newark Shopping Center and improve the appearance of that section of town.
Beginning next spring, the $13 million for the project will be spent on improving the shopping center and attracting new tenants, Funk says. The goal is to incorporate that section of Main Street and the section of Elkton Road into the downtown Newark area, Funk says.
“Newark has become the dining destination, no question about that,” Funk says. “With the development of the Newark Shopping Center and other things around town we hope to make it the retail destination as well.”