Fair, 79°
Weather sponsored by:

Blake Avenue parking, renaming McIntosh Avenue top OP meeting

Posted 3/28/24

ORANGE PARK – The Town Council committed itself to unclogging Blake Avenue, resulting in a draft of the “Blake Avenue Amendment” during its meeting two weeks ago. If the proposal were …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Blake Avenue parking, renaming McIntosh Avenue top OP meeting


Posted

ORANGE PARK – The Town Council committed itself to unclogging Blake Avenue, resulting in a draft of the “Blake Avenue Amendment” during its meeting two weeks ago.

If the proposal were passed, parking would be prohibited Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. within the public right-of-way of Blake Avenue (east of Park Avenue to River Road) except on holidays. That specific residential portion of Blake Avenue would be marked off with street signs to let commuters know when and where parking is prohibited.

The fine would be $25.

The proposal also includes a fine provision for commercial or heavy-use vehicles attempting to park on a public street or right-of-way, which would be enforced town-wide.  

The fine would be $100.

The Blake Avenue Amendment, which would amend Chapter 34 of the town code regarding unauthorized parking, appears to be supported by all three current town council members. It will have its second and final reading at a town council meeting on April 16, at which a final decision will be made.

More contentious was the debate regarding a proposed name change for one street in the town. McIntosh Avenue is being proposed to have its name changed after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (whether it will retain "Avenue" or be changed to "Street" or "Boulevard" is still being discussed.)

Pastor Jeffrey Dove from St. James AME Church on McIntosh Avenue spearheads the name change. Dove’s church was founded in the late 1870s and is generally considered one of the oldest churches in the area.

The town council appeared to be receptive to the idea of honoring the legacy of the great civil rights leader and committing the town to diversity. However, the 19 commercial and residential properties on the avenue must update their addresses individually, which could incur a financial cost and time commitment.

Maddie Hilt, a town council candidate for Orange Park, publicly supported the name change; however, she said she wanted to hear from the residents of the 19 properties who would be impacted.

This was a sentiment Councilmember Winnette Sandlin agreed with.

“Before we move forward with the idea, I would like to talk with the landowners and homeowners,” she said.

Mayor Andy Randerson appeared receptive to the proposal but hesitant, citing the financial cost of changing the avenue’s name and the lack of community feedback.  

"I want to look at it another time. I want to support it, but I can't," he said.

Councilmember Doug Benefield agreed and wanted to contact the residents before deciding.

A resident from Orange Park favored the name change but said McIntosh Avenue was not a sufficient street to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

“If you want to change something, change Kingsley (Avenue). Martin Luther King cannot be a side street,” the resident said.

Kingsley Avenue is named after Zephaniah Kingsley, a prominent slave merchant in Spanish Florida. 

While at the podium, the resident and Dove disagreed about the name change proposal. 

Ultimately, the town council decided to defer its decision to rename the avenue until after the April 9 municipal election, when the dais would have a full five members instead of its current three. 

The Orange Park Town Council meets monthly on the first and third Tuesdays. The next meeting will be April 2 at 7 p.m.