Debate about Paseo name change to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard wages on

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Voters in Kansas City could get to decide the fate of the newly minted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

A petition to keep the historic KC street as The Paseo now has enough signatures to force a vote on the issue.

The people behind the petition said this by no means is an indication they don’t want Martin Luther King Jr. honored in Kansas City. They just don’t like the street the city chose or how it was decided.

That 8-4 vote earlier this year followed debate with dissenting council members, saying people living along the Paseo didn’t necessarily support it or even know it was being considered.

“I’m totally against it, and I’m terribly disappointed in the City Council for doing it without even asking our input," Deborah Love said Friday.

But a group of pastors joined the city officials leading the effort to celebrate moments after that vote with the first sign ready to go up on the Paseo.

Since then, dozens of signs have been changed along the 10-mile stretch of road.

But in the interim, a group called "Save The Paseo" was collecting signatures to put the street name on the ballot. This week the city announced the group had over 2,400 signatures -- more than the 1,700 signatures they needed to make that happen.

“The whole idea is to give everyone in the city a chance to decide," Diane Euston said. "That’s how it should be especially when you are changing something that has so many memories and tangible history attached to it. That’s how it should be done."

But not everyone agrees.

“That’s crazy. Then where are you going to put it?" Bonnie England wondered as she enjoyed a Friday night in the Jazz District at 18th and Vine. "Does the process start all over again? You have to find another street that goes to be Martin Luther King?”

Around the corner at IMKC, t-shirts with a "The Paseo" street sign on them are flying off the shelves.

“Tech N9ne had a song named The P.A.S.E.O., and he came in before he went on tour, and he was like, 'Man I need you to do a Paseo,'" store owner The Popper said.

The Popper is a fellow Kansas City rapper who also wrote a song called Prospect Avenue.

Joe Roberts was one of the first to get the second batch of shirts that just came in Friday. IMKC sold out shortly after they went on sale last week.

“I sit on my porch all day long and watch the Paseo. It’s a staple of the city," he said.



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