GeoCarta Has Moved

Jan 3, 2006

What's In A Name? A Lot Of Money And Emotion

The City of Melbourne, Florida has been trying for eighteen years to name a local street in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As Florida Today reports, a number of streets were suggested over the years, but eventually rejected and the issue became embroiled in controversy. So after numerous meetings, the city's new, "naming-opportunities committee" thought they had found the perfect street to be renamed: Airport Boulevard. Now some citizens are protesting the idea for economic, not political reasons.

Melbourne International Airport is opposed to the change on the grounds that doing so would confuse travelers. Currently, Airport Boulevard takes you to, not suprisingly, the airport. Most of the other opposition comes from businesses along the street, which cite the expense of changing all their cards, letterheads and other documents to the new name.

The owners of the 218-unit apartment complex under construction complain that they have already spent thousands of dollars marketing the complex with its current address. A local dentists had told the city that the change would cost him over $10,000.

Those in favor of the switch have denounced those who oppose the Airport Boulevard renaming, saying the economic arguments are merely fronts that hide more sinister motives for opposing the change. The city is now proposing a compromise, proposing to call the street, "Airport-King Boulevard" for a few years.