Petition to change MLK Jr. Blvd. back to The Paseo gains enough signatures for a vote

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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 was started several weeks ago to keep the historic KC street as The Paseo. Now that petition has enough signatures to force a vote on the issue.

It was turned in to the city and validated by the city clerk. On Thursday, a group hosting the petition drive turned in over 2,400 signatures, well over the 1,700 required to put the issue on the ballot.

An ordinance on the issue will need to be introduced and sent to a council committee for deliberation before it’s placed on the ballot.

In January 2019, the City Council voted to rename The Paseo to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard by an 8-4 margin. Signs started going up in February with a formal ceremony celebrating the event.

Mayor Sly James was a supporter of the name change.

“There’s always going to be critics,” James said. “The bottom line is there is significant movement and, I think, significant support for doing something to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. We had community forums where these people sat and asked for community input from citizens, and I sure they heard someone come up to say ‘I don’t like that idea.'”

Although some in the community were happy with the change, residents who wanted to keep The Paseo name quickly began gathering signatures, hoping to force a vote on the issue.

Residents like lead petitioner and Kansas City historian, Diane Euston, who said the street is just as long as its history in the city.

“I don’t want people in 100 years not to know what The Paseo really meant to this community,” Euston said. “Renaming a street is fine, just not The Paseo.”

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