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KC voters to choose whether or not to reverse Paseo name change

Posted at 7:19 PM, Nov 02, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, voters on Tuesday will choose whether or not to reverse the name of a popular boulevard in the city.

In January, the Kansas City, Missouri, city council voted to rename Paseo Boulevard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. But this weekend, the group Save The Paseo went house-to-house letting residents know the fate of the popular boulevard will be decided in the upcoming election.

The group claims the process wasn’t followed.

“I almost felt like we stepped out in front of a freight train and it just hit us,” Bryon Johnmeyer said. “We really didn't know that they were really doing all of this in the background and they were fast-tracking and that's what got me so wound up.”

It’s a change 90-year-old Flora Waddell, who has lived in her house along the route since 1945, isn’t happy about.

"I think it's a mistake to change it,” Waddell said. “It has too much history behind it.”

However, other groups urge residents to vote, “No,” this Tuesday, saying this is the best way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"What greater place to honor Dr. King,” said Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City.

Howard said Kansas City is progressive and there wasn’t anything wrong with the process.

"We feel like we are helping to bring Kansas City up to where it should be with respect to issues of racial justice, which includes and cannot be separated from the elevation of the histories and cultures of and legacies of people of color,” Howard said.

He said he worries about the perception the city would receive if the name goes back to the Paseo.

"Of course, it would be a dubious distinction to an even greater extent if somehow it's stripped away,” Howard said.

It cost the city roughly $60,000 to put the signs up, and it’s estimated it would cost $40,000 to put back up the Paseo signs.

Right now, the old signs are in a warehouse with the Parks and Recreation department.

A vote ‘Yes” means you want to change back the name to the Paseo.

A vote “No” means you want to keep the name Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.