Traverse City residents and businesses are divided over a proposed name change of a well known and heavily used stretch of road. The name of the street does not sit well with Traverse City Commissioner Jim Carruthers. He's proposing the name be changed to Water Street to replace Division Street, which is used by over 20,000 drivers everyday.
??I'm?| saying just do something that's easy; doesn't really cost money that changes the vision of the street from being a division to our west side neighborhood to be more inclusive,?? said Carruthers. ??My understanding is Division Street was kind of the division from our town and that place over there which was our mental institution and I mean good and bad it was a good institution but there's a lot of horror that came out of it too.??
The commissioner doesn't believe the name change would cost local businesses much money.
??There's a handful of businesses along this street here that will be affected but there's not really that many businesses?| they're going to have to change some letterhead and some formal stuff?| I don't see it being that expensive to do."
Stacey Popp's family has owned the Dairy Lodge on Division for 28 years and says she doesn't see the need for a name change.
??I would be heartbroken because I think this is part of our history and we love Division Street. I went to school here on Division. We have a business here. I just think it would be a real shame to change that part of our history,?? said Popp.
Before the project gets the green light, one Traverse City resident wants the commissioner to get feedback from the public before any decisions are made.
??Street names should facilitate people??s ability to find their way around and a name such as Water Street makes more sense in that regard than a name such as Division which might imply that there was a division within the city,?? said Barb Gordon-Kessel, who lives near Division Street.
Carruthers says he has no timeline to change the name of Division Street.
He realizes this proposal does not address traffic issues that drivers and pedestrians face on Division.
The proposal will be brought before the commission on Monday night.