Lynchburg City Council considers renaming historic street after MLK Jr.

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Lynchburg City Council is considering renaming Fifth Street and Memorial Avenue after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2005, the city gave those streets the honorary designation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

City officials tell WFXR News that recent inquiries from the public prompted renewed discussions about an official name change.

Lynchburg’s city planner Tom Martin says talks about renaming the street after Dr. King goes back to at least 1989.

If the City Council chose to change the name, there would be some costs involved. Martin says it would cost the city about $20,000 to change the name.

He says that’s based on the cost of mailing out certified letters alerting about 300 property owners and the cost of replacing street signs at 53 intersections.

“Some of the other cost to citizens,” said Martin, “you know that’s very hard to put a number on, such as changing addresses, checks, stationary, those types of things.”

Fifth Street is a historically Black part of Lynchburg, especially in the first half of the 20th century.

According to historical markers along Fifth Street, by 1940, the street had dozens of Black-owned businesses. It was seen as the center for African American culture and business for the area until around the early 60s.

The City Council decided on Tuesday, Feb. 23 to hold a public hearing about possibly renaming the street. According to Vice Mayor Beau Wright, that date hasn’t been set yet.

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