Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Kennedale road name change stirs up controversy
The name change is being made to alleviate confusion, but some fear some history will be lost.
Corry A. Edwards may be the turn once named Bowman Springs Road for patrons traveling south of Pennsylvania Avenue in Kennedale.
Searching out a location in the 400 block of Bowman Springs Road could presently lead some finders to Kennedale, while others could wind up in Arlington. The street currently has duplicate locations divided only by the directional beacon of “north.”
The North Bowman Springs Road stretch between 3rd Street and north to a dog-leg turn near Pennsylvania Avenue in Kennedale, technically known as County Road 2065, has been considered for the new name. City leaders have discussed the issue in Kennedale City Council meetings.
Mayor Bryan Lankhorst said the motion made recently by the council body came as a matter of fact.
“It’s an improved section [leading] to the old section and something had to be renamed,” Lankhorst said.
Lankhorst, a 16 year resident, said two residents recently spoke at a council meeting and that was the extent of any issue he heard about the renaming, to his knowledge.
“Council has been talking about this over a year,” he said. “They’re not hiding. People just don’t normally come out. We didn’t talk about renaming ... in secret.”
Lankhorst said the next council meeting is July 8 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at Kennedale City Hall, and as always, he encourages people to attend. There is no charge and compliments and concerns about matters in the city do not have to be posted on the agenda for a resident to speak during the public forum.
“They need to tell their neighbors right now,” he said. “Residents on Bowman Springs can have opportunity to do it in mass.”
Residents, the mayor said, may not realize the small measures required to attend a council meeting and are not involved in city government as a result.
On the small government scale of a city, vast changes can be made by a few people, as opposed to United States government venues where representatives may not ever hear from residents of entire cities. Until the change was put into effect by Kennedale City Council for a renaming, Lankhorst said he had not heard of it posing an issue.
“Two people [speaking up] do not represent a problem,” Lankhorst said. “While people bringing a petition is a little better, what makes a difference, when I hit the gavel, is when everybody on council sees everybody concerned — and that (council chamber) is full.”
He admits change can be made provided he sees a problem and it is presented in a non-invasive non-menacing way to the council body. To sway the six-member board, it is effective when there are at least six people to appeal to them.
“Lana was like a model of what people should do to present something to council,” Lankhorst said of one resident who approached council during the recent meeting. “The presentation she had was loaded with facts and information, pertinent and helpful. What’s said makes the impact on the government body and is the effort to show and present facts to a council who may not be aware of a hardship.”
Lankhorst said a presentation as in-depth as resident Lana Sather’s is not necessary, but residents are necessary. Lankhorst said an affected resident need only approach the stand, say their name, address, and make a small statement of the situation or why they are there. Suggesting a solution, if possible, he said is also considered and welcomed.
The council members are not going to perform a television show-style hostile cross examination session, he said. He states the council members simply are not aware of a problem unless it is voiced.
“Say what bothers them,” Lankhorst said. “If they are unified, council are going to hear that.”
In a vision statement for the city, its website reads, “In communities that do not have large or diversified civic engagement, leaders in the government and the media are prone to think that the views of an outspoken minority are representative of the opinions of the quite majority. This can lead to weak government decisions and cause a majority of the population to be disgruntled and lack confidence in the government.”
Nothing makes this more apparent than the recent council meeting in which the street name change was considered, Lankhorst said. Participation, he hopes, will be considered an obligation from residents who will see the transparency in their city.
Lana Sather qualifies herself to speak to council since she is interested in the changes that happen in her community. She is also one of the home owners on Bowman Springs.
“I’m not necessarily opposed to what they want to name it, just that they change it at all,” Sather said. “There are driver licenses, social security cards and some people have five or six people in the house, and if you’ve got to pay even $20 each, that all adds up.”
Eleven years as a resident on Bowman Springs with a family heritage in Kennedale from her great grandparents, Sather has done her research on the street history.
She cites 39 residents on the stretch of Bowman Springs marked from about the 400 block of North Bowman Springs Road, Kennedale, or what is more accurately known as County Road 2065, to the 1000 block in Kennedale by Kennedale Junior High School.
The new name Corry A. Edwards was chosen from possible names as a tribute to the resident who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq recently, and she contests the current name is a tribute to a soldier of the civil war [Issac G. Bowman].
“I’ll have to change the address for everything I have,” Sather said. “I went to past council meetings and I don’t think they thought anybody would be affected.”
Sather said it will be an inconvenience as she tries to make the changes and she has to convince administration people at her mortgage company she is not trying to change her loan for a new house, but to simply have the same house in the same place but at a different address.
“I don’t know the difference being in Arlington or Kennedale or whether it will be more different than it has been,” Sather said. “I would think it would be more trouble with GPS [global positioning satellite navigation]; most people don’t buy updates for those things.” Sather said the whole street should get a new name, not just a portion, if the change has to happen.
North Bowman Springs resident Mary Salinas said her two houses on the 400 block of the road will be affected in a historical sense.
“I own the [400 block of North Bowman Springs] house; my daughter lives there and we did a lot of repair on it,” Salinas said. “We found newspapers from 1893 on the wall. I tried to save the newspapers, but they went to dust.”
Salinas said there was a fire or some destruction to the city’s early records, so she is not afforded the documentation of the actual date on which the house was built but is convinced of its origin in the 1800s.
“I hate to see the name change because of that house,” Salinas said. “We weren’t notified. I don’t think they [council] took the hardship into account of the name changes to deeds, trusts, insurance, and bill pay.”
Salinas said she was under the impression ambulance and emergency medical services persons would be guided with the addition of a GPS device and the street addresses would not be a problem, as suggested in reasons council members opted for the street naming.
“I’m not against supporting men in war who’ve died,” Salinas said. “My husband is a veteran. The dog leg should be changed. It needs to be Corry Edwards; that’s the new road and not going to affect anyone on that road right there by the memorial.”
Salinas said the dog leg at the junction of North Bowman Springs at the county road 2065 section of North Bowman Springs change would make more sense.
“Old town overlay on this said there are not to be any changes made on old town and here they are changing names,” she said.
Salinas also said cost would be a factor that directly impacted residents who will have to pay fees to change legal address documentation.
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