North needs new moniker, activist says
North Avenue has run its course, reasons Grand Junction resident Levi Lucero, who is campaigning to rename the street University Boulevard.
North Avenue was drawn as the northern boundary of the original mile-square Grand Junction township and it reigned for years as the main road through town.
Now it’s time to give the street a new lease on life and a new name, according to Lucero, who maintains that the name change now would be the logical culmination of the life and times of the stretch of pavement between First Street and 29 1/2 Road.
North Avenue no longer marks the city’s northern boundary, and hasn’t done so for many a year, Lucero noted. And North Avenue and the business district along it are in serious need of rejuvenation.
“This is just a no-brainer,” Lucero said.
The time has come for a new name, said Fred Strothman of JF Strothman Distillery Inc., 2862 North Ave.
“‘North Avenue’ just doesn’t conjure up anything,” Strothman said, whereas University Boulevard would draw attention to the major institution dominating the road.
“It’s a pretty good idea,” said Ted Ritter of Daylight Donuts, 1410 North Ave. “North Avenue needs a nice spruce-up and a change of name. It would be a positive thing for the community.”
Lucero, 80, a student at Mesa Junior College in the 1960s, is familiar with the history of the street and said the time is right to move the new name ahead.
“My belief is that North Avenue should be renamed to reflect a 21st Century anchored in its highest-profile resident, Colorado Mesa University,” Lucero wrote in a handout he offers to business owners, employees and customers as he knocks on doors up and down the street.
As a member of several committees, a business owner, onetime restaurateur and entrepreneur, and a member of the North Avenue Owners Association, Lucero is hoping to win support one signature at a time on his petition for the name change.
He will be in the lobby of Daylight Donuts from 9 a.m. to noon today through Feb. 27 to collect signatures supporting the change.
He has had the idea for some time that Grand Junction should better recognize the asset it has in CMU, but when he saw efforts to revitalize the street and the growth of the university, “That’s when it all came together.”
Grand Junction has a $1.2 million grant to redesign the corridor between First Street and 29 Road.
Construction on the redesigned roadway is to begin in 2014, a perfect time to change the name of the thoroughfare, as well, Lucero said.
The cost of a name change to the city would be minimal, in the $20,000 range, officials estimate. The city has 157 regular street signs for North Avenue and 18 illuminated street signs.
As he knocks on front doors, all with the blessing of his wife, Bernice, Lucero said he’s confident the effort will succeed.
“If you believe in something, and you are sincere in your thoughts that it is for the good of mankind, good things will happen,” he said.
“This kind of change would be perfect for business,” said Eric Metzner of No Ware Computer Repair, 1560 North Ave. “It could do a lot to draw business to the area and help rebrand North Avenue, which is in the process of becoming dilapidated.”