Melbourne hosts ceremony for renaming road Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Airport Boulevard renamed after push from advocates for 32 years

By James Sparvero - Reporter

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Three decades since Melbourne first tried renaming a street in honor of the country's most famous civil rights leader, the sixth time is the charm for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. 

In July, the city council voted to rename Airport Boulevard after King.

Only the mayor was opposed.

"We thought that as a city, this is something we need to do to honor him," Councilman Tim Thomas said.

A mile-and-a-half long, MLK Boulevard passes the Melbourne airport.

Leaders say supporters liked this road because it's close to downtown and it's an important connection to two other busy streets - Apollo Boulevard and Highway 192.

"It's surrounded by diversity and it's also surrounded by economic development," Thomas said. "Those are the values that Martin Luther King stood for."

One of the concerns  from small businesses on the street was how a name change would cost them.

However, even with Thursday night's renaming ceremony, all the businesses of a strip mall told News 6 they have not yet printed their new business cards. A beauty salon said when it does, it will only cost them $80 or $90.

The ceremony included remarks by five city council members and the reverend of an African Methodist Episcopal Church.

"This is one of those things that could really bring us together as a city. We're looking forward to it and we're looking forward to finally having a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard," Thomas said.
 

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