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Kansas City votes to change Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard back to The Paseo

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ten months after the Kansas City Council voted to rename The Paseo after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., voters have decided to change it back.

In Tuesday's special municipal election, Kansas Citians overwhelmingly voted in favor of changing the historic boulevard back to its original name.

With 99% of precincts reporting, just over 31,000, or about 69%, voted "Yes" to bring the Paseo back while just over 13,900, or about 31%, voted "No."

The heated debate over the boulevard's name has been going on for more than a year, and conversation on how to honor King in KC spans decades.

Then city council members voted 8-4 in January to rename The Paseo after the civil rights leader, but they were quickly met with frustration from some residents.

A grassroots movement called Save The Paseo collected nearly 3,000 signatures to put the renaming to a citywide vote on the November ballot.

Supporters of keeping the Paseo name pointed to the boulevard’s history. It’s one of KC’s oldest boulevards, stretching nearly 10 miles. They also felt citizens, particularly residents along the Paseo, were left out of the decision-making process.

But supporters argued King should be honored in Kansas City. Before the change, Kansas City was one of the only large U.S. cities without a street renamed for the civil rights icon.

Other suggestions to rename 63rd Street or the new KCI terminal building for King didn't gain much support. And two previous attempts to rename Prospect Avenue for King, once in 2011 and once in 1975, also fell short.

Curious to know what's next now? Mayor Quinton Lucas will be joining FOX4 News at 7 a.m. to speak on KC's next steps.

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