THE ISSUE Dover City Council unanimously approved City Manager Scott Koenig's request to reschedule the dedication of the city's new Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Jan. 19.
Koenig made the formal request to council during a financial workshop held Monday night in the City Hall conference room.
Council had initially set the dedication for Jan, 21, 2013, on the day the nation would celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. But Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Dover officers Rev. Michael Rogers and Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige requested the Jan. 19 dedication to coincide with the sixth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Dover, Koenig said.
WHAT'S HAPPENED Dover City Council had ended nearly a year of the most recent and often contentious debate on creating a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the state capital by voting 7-1 to rename Court Street, Duke of York and William Penn streets after the late civil rights leader Dec. 10. The motion included renaming Capital Drive within the Garden Court Apartments as Court Street and retained the name Court Street for the alley street segment on the south side of the current Court Street between River Road and Cowgill Street. In addition, plaques would be placed honoring the historic figures of the Duke of York and William Penn along the streets that had been named after them.
The IMA's effort was focused squarely on Division Street from the get go, but that caused quite an uproar amongst small business owners along the Del. Route 8 corridor faced with the significant costs of an address change. In the end, however, City Council went with the compromise put forward by Councilman Adam Perza (Third District) to rename the Court Street corridor.
WHAT'S NEXT Koenig said the MLK Parade was scheduled to begin lining up at 10 a.m. with an official start time of 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. The parade was originally scheduled to begin at Federal Street and conclude at Union Missionary Baptist Church located on 883 Lincoln Street. But, the route would be altered so that the parade arrived at the Green in the legislative district for the street dedication at 12:15 p.m., Koenig said.
In addition, Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) had offered to pay for the signs, but those details were being worked out, Koenig said. More information would be given at council's Jan. 14 meeting.