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Future West Valley road may honor Parks

Deseret Morning News graphic

Apparently, when a city wants to honor someone by naming a street after them, it's easier to start from scratch.

Two City Councils Tuesday night discussed the idea of naming a road after civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died Oct. 24 at age 92. In West Valley City, the council passed off on the idea. But in West Jordan, the proposal failed — on a technicality.

The problem in West Jordan is that the city doesn't have any policy in its city ordinances on renaming a road. So instead the council voted 5-2 to form a committee to create a road-renaming policy. At the request of Councilwoman Kathy Hilton, the committee will be required to finish the policy within three months.

"The council was certainly receptive to the street-naming idea," City Manager Gary Luebbers said. "But they decided before they went forward they wanted to have a committee put together of council members, planning commissioners and some citizens to come up with a policy for street-naming, so they'll be putting that together over the next several weeks and sitting down and putting something together that they can use not only for this situation but for any others that will occur in the future."

No specific road has been proposed to have its name changed, though there have been mentions of renaming Jordan Landing Boulevard or a road between the West Jordan Police Department and the new 3rd District Courthouse.

The committee's proposed policy will be discussed and voted on at a City Council meeting, though no specific date has been set.

In West Valley City, the council did not vote on the issue, as it was not on the agenda, but all council members agreed to the concept of naming a road after Parks. The difference between West Valley and West Jordan, however, is that West Valley's Rosa Parks Road (or Street, Avenue or Boulevard — the final decision is up the county) has not been built yet.

The road will be at about 1400 West between 3100 South and 3300 South, near the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. Construction will begin in 2009.

"We are proud to honor Rosa Parks, one of the most influential civil rights icons of our time," West Valley Mayor Dennis Nordfelt said in a statement. "The street perfectly complements the vision of the Utah Cultural Celebration Center and will be a wonderful addition to our community."

Parks made history in December 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested, which led to a 381-day Montgomery bus boycott. The incident boosted the civil rights movement and, in November 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on transportation is unconstitutional.