Council votes to honor developer by renaming street

March 12, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Those who want to head to Burger King, the Chamber of Commerce office or a Japanese steakhouse in Martinsburg will soon be motoring along Van Wyk Way.

Council members on Thursday night approved changing the name of Viking Way to Van Wyk Way in honor of the late Bruce Van Wyk. A developer, Van Wyk created Viking Way and Foxcroft Avenue, a mile-long stretch of restaurants and businesses parallel to Interstate 81.

Van Wyk died Dec. 25, 2003. He was 63.

Chamber of Commerce officials previously requested that Foxcroft Avenue be renamed, but several council members did not agree.

Councilman Donald Anderson said it might not be the best idea, considering the number of businesses that would need to change addresses, stationery, business cards and other items. Numerous signs would have to be changed, and residents of an apartment complex would be affected.


Anderson made the motion Thursday night that Viking Way, which is next to Foxcroft Avenue, be renamed.

Council members approved the motion by a 6-0 vote. Councilman Glenville Twigg did not attend the meeting.

Anderson also suggested that the idea of opening the street to two-way traffic be revisited, with drivers only allowed to turn right onto King Street. Viking Way is a one-way street.

City Manager Mark Baldwin said that possibility is pending.

Mary Kackley, director of Berkeley County Central Dispatch, said her office could not approve any street name that starts with "Van Wyk," but council members overrode her.

Part of the county's 911 address conversion plan includes making sure no roads have similar-sounding names that could confuse emergency response crews. "Van Wyk Way" could be confused with "VanClevesville Road," Kackley wrote in a March 2 letter to Baldwin.

Kackley noted in her letter that council members in the past have allowed two roads to have similar-sounding names, including Sycamore Lane and Sycamore Street.

"Should the Martinsburg City Council decide to allow this duplication," she wrote, her office needs to be contacted. She added that any mapping costs incurred in the name change would be invoiced to the city.

That notion raised the ire of Anderson, who said the city should not have to pay any costs. A $1.50 monthly fee paid to 911 by all county and city residents with a telephone should cover any of the costs, he said.

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