WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - After months of discussion, Vernon's City Commission voted to change Dean St. to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. to the joy of many residents.
Months prior, there was back and forth between citizens and the commission about whether it would be a good idea to rename Maiden St. after the Civil Rights leader. Many were concerned that changing that street name would cause too many businesses to have to switch their mailing addresses.
In the end, those that were for renaming a street to honor Dr. King's legacy decided Dean Street would be better. They felt its closeness to Interstate 287 and the presence of a few churches on that street would make it ideal. Considering Dr. King was a pastor himself, many felt it would be especially fitting.
The Commission voted 6-1 for the alteration and no residents stood to oppose during the city meeting.
Rev. Willie King began the petition for the street name change that was signed by 300 residents. He leads Full Gospel Fellowship Church which is on the street that is to be renamed. The decision made him hopeful, "It's just a giant step towards creating what Dr. King often referred to as this beloved community and brotherhood. We're not trying to hurt anybody, we're just trying to achieve more involvement and more integration. We want to be a part of the future of the city of Vernon."
The City Commission also voted to add a sign on Interstate 287 leading into the newly named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., and they plan to name the city's community garden after him as well.