Thursday, April 24, 2014
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MLK Street renaming fails for second time

By David Tuma

Publisher

The quest to have a street named in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. failed for the second time in Belton. 

Owners of property along North Alexander and South Davis streets voted on a poll that ended Friday to rename the streets.

Black church leaders in Belton had been trying to get the streets renamed where the Harris Community Center is located. The leaders were instrumental in preserving the Harris School, which in turn was converted into the Harris Community Center.

Of the 37 property owners 28 voted with 15 in favor and 13 against it. The request needed at least 70 percent of those who voted to approve the measure.

The City of Belton changed the percentage after the first effort failed. If the requirement of 70 percent was in effect during the first vote the street name would have been changed.

Nine of the 13 no votes were by Belton property owners. Four of the no votes were by out of town property owners.

The struggle to get a street named after Martin Luther King is common with issues dealing with race and the hassle of changing everything on the addresses for a home owner or business. Over 730 cities in the country have a street named after the great man.

“Some of the property is rent property on the streets. The church leaders have been pleasant to work with. The property owners didn’t want a change and a lot of that had to do with the hassle of changing everything,” said City of Belton Public Information Officer Paul Romer.