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Tempe City Council officially approves new street and park names

The new street and park names will honor local figures and replace names of Ku Klux Klan members

Tempe street signs.jpg

Photo illustration of Hudson Drive, Laird Street, Harelson Park and Redden Park, the parks, streets and schools that will soon be renamed by the City of Tempe.

Tempe City Council approved the suggested change of street and park names to honor local figures.

In a city council meeting on March 2, the council voted 6-0 to approve the renaming of streets and parks. Councilmember Randy Keating was absent for the vote. After the vote, Tempe City Manager Andrew Ching said the city will send out information and reimburse any costs that affect residents living on a renamed street.

The city of Tempe has estimated the renaming efforts to total approximately $112,000. Among these costs are reimbursements for residents who will have to update their address on items, such as driver's licenses and business cards. Affected residents will receive information from the city regarding reimbursements.

After it was revealed that several streets and parks in the city were named after members of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, efforts were made to rename the areas. Three Tempe elementary schools were also recently renamed.

The names of the new streets and parks are in honor of local figures who made advancements for the Tempe community. However, some feel that these issues go deeper than street names.

READ MORE: Tempe streets and parks to get new names in honor of local figures

ASU associate professor of African American studies Rashad Shabazz said giving a name to something is an attempt to show significance of a person or historical event.

"It really shines a light on the extent to which white supremacy was viewed as a productive element of how Tempe wanted to constitute itself," Shabazz said. "White supremacy, in that way, became part of the way Tempe was constructed."

ASU student groups said they feel similarly that while this is a step in the right direction, more changes must be made to further stamp out white supremacy in the community.

"It is nice to see that the city of Tempe has begun to change the names of its street that were named after such hateful individuals," Ahlias Jones, a sophomore studying secondary education and the president of the Black African Coalition at ASU said in a statement, "However, this is only one small step in a long path to ensuring equity and equality amongst everyone in the city. What I hope see in the future is more policies and initiatives that focus on identifying and providing the specific resources that underprivileged communities need."

Edited by Shane Brennan, Reagan Priest and Anusha Natarajan. 

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