West Badin residents discuss street name changes ahead of council meeting

Published 10:12 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

A group of concerned citizens hosted a public meeting Tuesday to discuss plans to ask the Badin Town Council to change streets named for prominent Civil War and other historical figures.

Avonda Wilson started by listing a group of streets listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which citizens wish to change, including Roosevelt, Lee, Grant, Jackson, Sherman, Lincoln, Dewey and Sumter streets. Watkins noted the entire West Badin community is listed as historic.

Georgette Edgerton said the group also wants to add Wilson and Washington streets to the list.

Wilson said she was told by Badin Town Manager Jay Almond no street names have ever been changed in the town and there was no process in place for it.

In an email received by The Stanly News & Press, the group contacted Sarah Woodard, Survey and National Register branch supervisor for the state’s Historic Preseveration Office. In the email, Woodard states, “Changing street names for streets within a National Register district will have no effect on the National Register listing or status. Likewise, National Register designation has no effect or impact on a town’s ability to change a street name.”

Woodard further stated in the email that she met with the Badin Town Council in a work session March 9 to discuss the situation, communicating the information about street name changes and Historic Preservation status to council members.

Wilson talked about the reasons citizens in the community want the names changed.

“I really don’t think a historically Black community should have Caucasian men as their street names,” she said. “We did do some research on the different names. Basically, with most of them, they were tied to slavery and different things, and we don’t think that would be a good representation of our town, of West Badin.”

Since the streets in the community are owned by the town and not the state’s Department of Transportation, the town can change the names.

At last week’s planning meeting, the mayor and council members heard from Stanly County Communications Database Coordinator Rebecca Burgess regarding county ordinances for street name changes.

“(Burgess) said change is possible,” Wilson said about her comments at the meeting.

West Badin Concerned Citizens also contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles about residents having to pay for new licenses if their addresses changed.

“They said if the street names are changed by the government, you do not have to change your address until it is time to renew your license,” Wilson said. “That means if you are stopped, you will not be charged with giving a fictitious or wrong address.”

She added mail delivery would not be as important because residents get their mail at the post office.

When asking Stanly Geographic Information System personnel about changing street names, Wilson said she was told all change would take “was just the push of a button.”

West Badin Concerned Citizens also asked Almond about changing the venue of the next regular meeting of the town council, July 12, to a larger venue. Last week’s planning meeting was moved to town hall from the Badin Conference Center because of a problem with the conference center’s air conditioning.

According to Almond, the air conditioning in the conference center was repaired Wednesday and the council meeting will take place there.

Almond said Tuesday’s agenda item will be for council members “to consider moving forward with street name changes.” Members of the public, he said, will have “opportunities for anyone who wishes to speak publicly during the public comment time.”

“Throughout the process of considering the street names and whether or not they could or should remain or be changed, during that due diligence and information gathering, no one in any point along the way has offered any opposition: no public members, no board members, no staff members,” he added.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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