Honoring MLK Jr. with highway designation

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By Donna Thornton/News Editor

The Gadsden City Council passed a resolution on Jan. 15 to designate U.S. 431 within the Gadsden City limits as Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parkway.

The council resolution will go the local legislative delegation for consideration.

Council member Deverick Williams said its his understanding that the delegation will support the resolution, and after it does, the city will work with the State Department of Transportation to finalize the designation with signs.

Because the resolution designates the stretch of highway as a memorial parkway rather than renaming it, official addresses for businesses or residences will stay the same. Williams said he understands it would be a hardship for many businesses to change letterheads and other business tools to reflect a renamed roadway.

“I thank the council for considering it,” Williams said. “I’m truly excited about it.” The council took the opportunity to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday, Williams said.

“This was a big step for the city to recognize someone who offered significant contributions to our nation.” Williams said the option of renaming a street for King remains.

In other action, the city took a step closer to getting rid of the old Noojin Building on Chestnut Street.

The council approved an agreement with Highland Technical Services for asbestos abatement in the long-deserted building.

Council member Bill Stewart said remaining asbestos in the building has to be properly dealt with before the city can take down the building, which he said had been an eyesore and needed to be demolished for a long time. “This is a step in that direction,” Stewart said.

City Engineer Chad Hare said the city hopes to take bids on taking down the Noojin Building in March.

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