Council weighs renaming street to Van Wyk Avenue

February 13, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A street full of restaurants, stores, offices and an apartment complex could one day bear the name of the man who developed it - Bruce Van Wyk.

Chamber of Commerce officials have asked that the city change the name of Foxcroft Avenue to Van Wyk Avenue in honor of the late developer, who died at age 63 on Dec. 25, 2003, following surgery.

City Council members said they wonder whether it's a wise idea, considering the number of businesses that would need to change addresses, stationary, business cards and other items. Signs would have to be changed, and residents of an apartment complex would be affected.


Honoring Van Wyk is appropriate, City Councilman Donald Anderson said at the council meeting Wednesday night. An easier way to do it, he suggested, would be to change the name of adjacent Viking Way to Van Wyk Way. Viking Way is home to only a few businesses.

Foxcroft Avenue businesses include a Wal-Mart, a mall, numerous restaurants, a multiple-screen movie theater, a gas station, a Martin's grocery store, an apartment complex, offices, a hotel, a car wash and banks.

Only a few buildings are empty, including a former barbecue restaurant, a grocery store that closed a few years ago and a Fazoli's fast-food Italian restaurant that closed late last year. Parcels of acreage also are available for development.

Requiring all of the businesses to make changes associated with a new street name might be asking too much, Anderson said.

Councilman Richard Yauger agreed. He said he, too, prefers renaming Viking Way rather than Foxcroft Avenue.

Before any street name is changed, Central Dispatcher Director Mary Kackley will need to be contacted. Part of the county's 911 address conversion plan includes making sure no roads have similar-sounding names that could confuse emergency response crews.

Kackley previously indicated that a few road names include the prefix "van," City Manager Mark Baldwin said.

Councilman Glenville Twigg said it is so important to honor Van Wyk that changing those other road names might need to be considered.

Even if other road names sound similar, city officials have the ultimate decision and can still vote to rename a street after Van Wyk, Baldwin said.

Council members took no action at their meeting but said they will discuss the issue again.

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