City & County

Plea to rename street falls on deaf ears (again) in Arkadelphia

Although Pine Street, Arkadelphia’s main east/west thoroughfare, has honorary MLK Boulevard signage, leaders in the town’s black community hope to officially rename the street in honor of the late civil rights hero.

Ed: This post has been updated to correct the year directors cast a vote favoring the name change.

By JOE MAY | The Southern Standard

A reoccurring issue for the Arkadelphia City Board was again brought up at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Arkadelphia resident Doug Nelson told the board that he was there “to remind” them of the issue of renaming Pine Street for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He noted that the board had voted 4-2 in 2010 in favor of renaming, but a 1958 ordinance blocked the change.

“I challenge the board to consider moving forward on this change,” Nelson stated, claiming that the lack of an officially named street for the slain civil rights leader has made the city look “divided,” causing them to lose out on several industries.

Quoting the city’s motto, “It’s a great place to call home,”  Nelson asked, “It’s a great place for who?”

Board members made no response, moving on to the next action, which was the issuing of proclamations for the 50th anniversary of Group Living and declaring May 4 as a National Day of Prayer.

Parks and Rec Director Stuart Tapson updated the board on ongoing work at the aquatic park, noting that the pool had just been sandblasted and concrete repairs are currently under way. City Manager Gary Brinkley stated that the $167,000 project is part of an ongoing effort that will eventually give the city a fully rebuilt aquatic park.

Assistant Mayor Roland Gosey asked about the official process for renaming a street, noting that from what he has seen, a request to rename a road involves a lot of “aggressive” work on behalf of a citizen.

He asked Brinkley if the path to renaming any street in the city could be made easier, lest the process be “a deterrent.”

Brinkley agreed and stated that he would put together a workshop on the issue.

4 replies »

  1. Most people don’t want the street renamed so I would say “It’s a great place to call home” for most. Most don’t believe changing a street name will bring in business either nor does it cause racially division. Most are not racist but practical, and there is always a few pushing racist rhetoric.

    • If most don’t want the street renamed it makes me wonder why. Street names occur all the time and who more deserving than Dr. Martin Luther King. You may want to reconsider your comments.

      • Why? It was explained very clearly the expense of renaming a business street would be for our business neighbors. Don’t they matter?

  2. Seems to me the new bypass should be named the Dr. Martin Luther King Bypass. Compromise!

    Randy Thomas