Neighbors Oppose Street Renaming in Downtown

7:48 PM, Dec 29, 2010   |    comments
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  • Cone Street in downtown Atlanta could be renamed.

ATLANTA -- A proposal to change the names of two streets in downtown Atlanta is getting opposition from neighborhood leaders.

The new names would honor two "living legends," but neighbors argue the process is too confusing and costly.

"The citizens of Atlanta would appreciate memorials that are more enduring and require more thought than what they're getting," said Rashid Muhammad, Vice Chairman of NPU M.

On Monday, the city council will decide whether to change Cone Street near the CNN Center to Xernona Clayton Way, in honor of the civil rights leader and founder of the Trumpet Awards.

The council will also vote on whether to change Harris Street to John Portman Boulevard to honor the architect of many of Atlanta's landmark buildings.

"I support taking some of the names and renaming them after living legends," said Joe Hindsley, General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. "The decision reflects our rich modern history."

Hindsley served on the commission charged with finding ways to honor Clayton. His hotel is bordered on one side by Harris Street, which was designed and developed by Portman.

"I know there's opposition," Hindsley said. "As a property manager, I accept the challenges of renaming the street and balance that with the positive side of change."

One of those opposed to changing Cone street has a personal connection. Spencer Tunnell is a relative of Judge Reuben Cone, a pioneer and landowner in Atlanta for whom Cone Street is named.

"The Cone name is deeply meaningful," Tunnell said during a news conference organized by business owners and neighborhood leaders. "A city that seeks to wipe away its history could wipe away its soul."

If approved, the change would not cost the city. Private commissions will assume the costs associated with new street signs.

If appproved, Xernona Clayton Way would be the city's second street named after a woman. Right now, there's only one: Margaret Mitchell.

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