Lynchburg: MLK Boulevard - city manager's response
See previous blog post " Thanksgiving: recognizing our collective heritage"
Commentary note: one way to pay the cost of the MLK signs could be through the use of federal Block Grant Community Development funds. This would mean no local tax dollars would be used.
Subj: Re: Inclusion and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Date: 11/23/05 5:32:53 PM Eastern Standard Time
Thank you for your letter.
City Council has acted in designating the Fifth Street/Memorial Avenuecorridor and naming the Fifth Street bridge to honor Dr. King. I don'tsense that a majority of Council wishes to reconsider that action andtherefore do not anticipate any further public discussion on the matterafter yesterday's Council meeting.
After Council's action in March staff was instructed to, under mydirection, erect appropriate signage in the corridor. We attempted to dothat in an open manner to keep both Council and the public informed of ourprogress. That did not include placing additional signs on top of everystreet sign in the corridor. Once the pole-mounted signs went up it wasrecognized that they were out of proportion to the height of the pole,basically, being too small. In my opinion, that makes them inappropriateand indicative that staff has not finished its assigned work.
As we were considering changes to the pole-mounted signs a local pastorraised the issue of placing signs designating the corridor on top of thestreet signs, insisting that staff had been directed to make such aninstallation. While that was not my recollection, I agreed to bring thatquestion back to City Council for a definitive answer. Unfortunately, Imade the mistake of mixing that issue with the appropriate completion ofstaff's original charge. In retrospect, I should have never mixed the twomatters and should have simply deferred completing my first assigned taskuntil I got an answer from Council on the matter of the street signs. Live and learn.
Yesterday City Council gave me a definitive answer regarding the additionalsigns on top of the street signs, indicating that such was never Council'sintention and declining to direct staff to erect the additional signs.Council also left the matter of completing the original task, erectingappropriate signs designating the corridor, in my hands and to mydiscretion. This brought us back to what we were instructed to do lastMarch. I intend to fulfill my original assignment to the best of myability and hope that upon the completion of that task this matter will beat an end.
With respect to the appropriateness of the designation of Route 29 as the"Seminole Trail", I think you have an interesting point although I do notknow the original intent behind the designation. In any case, that is amatter to be resolved at the state level as the road is part of the VDOTsystem.
Finally, there is a local committee working to participate in the Jamestown 2007 commemoration activities. You could contact the folks at the Chamberof Commerce for additional information.
I trust that this addresses your questions.