Proposal to rename Elkton Road tabled by council
Newark mayor seeks to rebrand the avenue as South Main Street to attract more businesses to downtown
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 04:11
A proposal to rename a portion of Elkton Road as South Main Street was tabled after mixed reactions during last week's city council meeting.
Newark Mayor Vance A. Funk III proposed renaming the street as far as Casho Mill Road during the summer to bring more businesses into the downtown Newark area on Elkton Road.
"Main Street, for whatever reason, is the place," Funk said. "There are two vacancies on that whole stretch of Main Street, out of about 140 locations."
However, the mayor withdrew his proposal during the last city council meeting after many councilmen and some residents voiced their concerns.
Maureen Feeney Roser, assistant director of the city's planning and development department, said members of the Downtown Newark Partnership have been seeking to better incorporate the downtown area on Elkton Road since city council expanded it in 2007.
"We believe that the name change would help us better market the commercial space on Elkton Road as many businesses on our targeted business list—those who we have been trying to pursue—have said that they would only consider opening a location in downtown Newark if it were on Main Street," Roser said.
She said many partnership members also think the name change would help promote the public's perception of downtown area on Elkton Road.
District 5 Councilman Ezra Temko said he was concerned with the name change because he believed it would cause confusion for local residents.
"If you are at the end of East Main Street and someone is telling you to go onto Main Street, but you can see that you can take a left onto [South] Main Street or keep going straight onto [West] Main Street," Temko said.
Temko said if the name was approved, West Main Street would also need to be renamed.
District 3 Councilman Doug Tuttle said he believes the renaming of Elkton Road has historical significance and should be valued.
Tuttle also said his constituents have shown more concern about the renaming of Elkton Road than any other topic the council has discussed in the past month.
City council recently approved a 14.5 percent increase of city water rates, which was also considered by many residents to be an unfavorable decision.
"I have heard more outcry about this issue than about even the increased water rates," Tuttle said.
District 2 Councilman Jerry Clifton said he thinks there are several benefits to a name change, but it should be done in a way that will not affect the residents who live further down Elkton Road.
"There's a lot in a name, and I think to have South Main Street to Park [Place], which will encompass the business district and leave the residents alone that need to change licenses, car registration, insurance and a litany of things, makes sense from a business development standpoint," Clifton said.