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Phoenix City Councilors are considering a permanent MLK signage change

PHX City Council considering MLK signage change
Posted at 9:17 PM, Dec 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 08:15:00-05

It's been two years since Phoenix City Council members hoisted 32 ceremonial signs honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was an act all part of renaming a 14-mile stretch of Broadway Road.

But now, some in the community are calling for the stretch to get a permanent name change, rather than just the symbolic one you see now.

Phoenix has long been one of the few cities in the U.S without a roadway named after Dr. King, which came to an end when those 32 ceremonial signs were posted back in 2015.

Now the council is being asked to get rid of the name "Broadway" altogether, but it would end up costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“They had the intention there, but it hasn’t been realized,” said Joanne Scott Woods. 

Woods said when the 32 signs honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went up, she thought the old Broadway signs would eventually come down. 

But she says that dream has yet to be realized. 

“I’m asking for follow-through, three years is too long to wait,” said Woods. 

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, she’ll drive home that point. 

Asking council members to figure out how much it would cost to permanently change the signage, and off-set the costs to local businesses. 

“When you go onto Google Maps and you're navigating through the community, it will show you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Councilwoman Kate Gallego. 

Councilwoman Gallego says not only is Dr. King’s name on ceremonial signage, but also on Google Maps running from 48th Street to 67th Avenue. 

The symbolic renaming, would save local businesses along the route from having to change their letterheads, their own signage, and even marketing material. 

“We can celebrate his legacy with a significant street name, but at the same time, the businesses and residents don’t have to incur the costs of changing their address,” said Gallego. 

She says those costs could be as high as $200,000 if the city decides to change the name completely. 

“The community felt like that was a win-win,” said Gallego. 

But tonight, Woods says while it was a win at the time, it’s now time to make Dr. King a permanent fixture in the 5th largest city in the nation.

“I’d be disappointed if this does not give them the impetus to deeply consider this for everyone,” said Woods.