It has been over three weeks since the Grand Junction City Council voted to change the name of North Avenue to University Boulevard, and despite the fact that the decision’s intent was in support of Colorado Mesa University, CMU students have appeared largely apathetic to the change.
“I feel like that’s just costing everyone unnecessary money to change their address and it’s going to confuse people […] And if you are going to change it, name it something that actually has to do with the school, like Mesa Boulevard or Maverick Avenue,” CMU student Cody Yates told The Criterion in August.
Those who do feel passionate about the decision are a growing community of business members and Grand Junction citizens who are wholly against it. Some gather and coordinate on a Facebook group called “KeepNorth4Ever,” which has gained nearly 3,000 members. Members also post publicly on the “Save North Avenue” Facebook page. One of the pictures on the page includes a photoshopped image of CMU President Tim Foster with a crown, implying the university’s perceived clout in the city and community.
During the Sept. 6 city council meeting, business owners continued to officially express their discontent over the decision. Locals cited costs from governmental form changes, lost business over confused customers and general complications from such a change.
“If this goes through as it’s on the books now, it’s going to definitely damage my business,” Jeff McCloskey, a business owner on North Avenue, said during the city council meeting. “I would appreciate if you’d look out for small business owners, not just CMU; there’s more than one on North Avenue.”
CMU itself has largely stayed out of the fray in an official manner, but has expressed their support for the initiative.
“CMU appreciates the community evidencing their support with this change. The chamber of commerce has shown good leadership and we think there’s evidence of business support of this change,” Colorado Mesa University said in a statement released by Dana Nunn, the university’s director of media relations.
The cost for the name change for the city’s expenses was expected to be $22,000 to change the signs on the four-mile stretch of road, until a check from the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce offered to cover the costs.
However, KCJT reported that City Councilman Duncan Mcarthur, one of the members that voted no originally, said the check was not accepted so that it may be used toward the businesses who will need the costs covered.
The petition obtained by the opposition group is an official city petition, meaning that if they gain the required amount of signatures the city council will either rescind the decision or return the issue to the next general election. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that members expect they need 1,200 to encourage making this happen.
The KeepNorth4Ever group will be “cruising” North Avenue on Saturday Sept. 16 to display their opposition to the change.