Foes of North Avenue name change gear up

Expect to see petitions seeking signatures at businesses along North Avenue and bumper stickers with the tongue-in-cheek message “University BLSHT”.

After a majority of Grand Junction City Council members recently approved changing the name of North Avenue to University Boulevard, a groundswell of people are coming together to protest the decision.

Some say they wish the money to make all the changes would be spent elsewhere. Others question how the name change is relevant to businesses miles away from Colorado Mesa University on the 4-mile corridor. They cringe at the thought of renaming a street with historical significance. That’s not to mention all the money and effort North Avenue businesses must incur themselves to comply with the change.

A gathering at Orchard Mesa Baptist Church, 2748 B 1/2 Road, brought out a few dozen folks angry enough about the name change to attend a Saturday morning meeting.

Cathy Frederick isn’t opposed to Colorado Mesa University. But her store, Peachtree True Value, 2963 North Ave., is miles east from university. Changing the street’s name does nothing for the business owner but it will create a headache, hours of work and money spent on changing her address.

“Why do we have to be put in that position?” she said after Saturday’s meeting.

Frederick said she was contacted two or three times by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce about her view on the name change about three to four years ago. Frederick said she always told officials she was opposed to the idea.

Participants at Saturday’s meeting said they would help launch a petition drive to encourage the City Council to reverse the decision. Resident John Edwards said he’ll be filing an injunction in court to get Grand Junction to halt the decision.

As it stands, the name change goes into effect March 1, 2018. The city expects to spend $22,000 on signage. In proposing the name change to councilors during an Aug. 16 meeting, Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Schwenke said about 1,000 people had signed petitions in support of the name change.

Supporters say a change will boost the stature of the roadway, possibly helping to revitalize the formerly robust shopping district.

Some protesting the route’s name change said councilors may have been given bad information to make a decision and they questioned the results of a petition drive by resident Levi Lucero that collected signatures of North Avenue business owners.

A Facebook group, Keep North Avenue Name As Is, already has collected 1,500 followers in a short 72 hours, said Mackenzie Dodge, who is helping to spearhead the effort.

Dodge said she’s heard from business owners like Mail Suite, 202 North Ave., who not only have to pay to change their address, but change addresses for all the customers who receive mail there.

“The more we make a (public relations) nightmare out of this, the more likely they will rescind this,” Dodge said.


COMMENTS

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Sounds like it could cost the City far more than the $22k they thought, by the time legal fees to fight citizens’ wishes are figured in. Another lesson not to blindly trust the Grand Junction chamber and its exploits.

I’ll add my name to the nightmare, I’m totally opposed to the waste of money by changing the name of North Avenue to University Boulevard.  It’s a totally a waste of time and money.

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