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Wilmington updates policy on street (re)naming and memorials on public property

Deputy City Manager Thom Moton presented the new updated city policy
City of Wilmington
Deputy City Manager Thom Moton presented the new updated city policy.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Wilmington City Council discussed revisions to the city policy on the naming and renaming of city streets, city facilities, and placement of privately funded memorials on public property.

Earlier this year, in February, the city gathered community input from two focus groups and the Naming Facilities Committee to develop the new policy. Based on this public input, the council at its July 20 meeting heard a first presentation of the policy. Council input from that meeting led to the policy adopted this week.

In the newly updated policy, naming and renaming of city streets require at least 75% of the residents of the street to approve the change (formerly, the city required 51%).

To add an honorary name to the street name requires at least 51% approval — a lower bar, in part because occupants or residents won't have to change their legal address.

The Naming Facilities Committee will only review applications every two years on even-numbered years. Applications have to be submitted to the city clerk. The committee decides if the application meets all of the requirements to move to the next process. The committee also seeks public input from the community, especially those affected by the naming or renaming.

The council also discussed the funding and location of public and private memorials on city property.

The new policy will no longer allow privately funded memorials on city property. Existing memorials are not affected unless the council chooses otherwise. For publicly funded memorials, the city is allowed to place art or objects of remembrance on city property only with public funding and council approval.

City staff made clear the new policy is just guidance from the committee, and that City Council could make individual future decisions on a case-by-case basis.

In a 6-1 vote with Kevin Spears voting against, Council approved the new updated city policy.

Ashley Brown is from from Houston, TX. She holds a BA in Mass Communication from Sam Houston State University and an MA in Professional Communication and Digital Media from Texas Southern University. Her love of news, radio, and entertainment led her to the field of journalism. As a creative person, she loves the journalistic challenge of putting stories together. And as a future news reporter, she hopes to tell stories that reach and affect people. In her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, journaling, spending time with friends and family, and trying out new brunch places to eat.