City committee approves referendum on The Paseo name change

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city’s finance and governance committee Wednesday approved asking voters in November whether The Paseo Boulevard should be renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.

This referendum may happen after the city has already installed new street signs changing the name.

The city council approved the name change earlier this year, as a way to honor the slain civil rights leader.

Signs started going up in February, and that angered many folks who live and work on The Paseo.

They say their voices were not heard.

An established city process calls for a vote among property owners affected by any proposed street name change.

Supporters of turning The Paseo into Martin Luther King Drive gathered only about 100 petition signatures, not enough to bring the issue to vote, so the city council acted to make the change without an election.

“I was truly disgusted by the process,” Theresa Grover said, who has lived on The Paseo for 40 years. “This has been going on for over a year. It should have been brought to a ballot for people to vote on it.  I am just so disappointed in the council and the members of the council that voted for this.”

Ten citizens spoke in favor of keeping the street named The Paseo. No one spoke in favor of The Paseo remaining Martin Luther King Drive.

Although the “Save The Paseo” group wanted a vote in August, the soonest possible, the committee moved the question to the November ballot, saying that would save taxpayers $375,000 by not having a special election just on this one issue.

The full city council is expected to vote in about two weeks to place the question on the November ballot.

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