Residents reject renaming Pittsburgh Avenue to Freshwater Way, probably because it’s a lame idea
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When he’s not busy staging feel-good press conferences and supporting feel-good contests with dumb names, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett…well, we’re not exactly sure what he does. What we do know is that sometimes those press conferences and contests come back to haunt him, especially the ones designed to re-brand Milwaukee as a cooler, hipper, less Milwaukee-esque city. Take last fall’s contest to rename Pittsburgh Avenue. After the mayor asked citizens to come up with a snappy new name in honor of the new Water Accelerator Center at 223 W. Pittsburgh—and after more than 600 entries were submitted—a panel chose “Freshwater Way” as the street’s new name. But now, as Michael Horne of Urban Milwaukee reports, the name seems to be dead in the water:
As required by law, the City must send a postcard to businesses, property owners and residents in order to effect an official street name change. “The street name proposal shall not be given further consideration” if it has less than 50% support of those entities.
So, the city sent out 112 postcards to Pittsburgh Avenue addresses, and guess what? Only 10.7 per cent of the respondents were in favor of the name change for the four-block long street.
This put the city officials in a bind, and could possibly have embarrassed Mayor Tom Barrett, who is crazy about the name. (The mayor is also the guy who came up with the idea of calling Milwaukee the “Fresh Coast,” which nobody does.)
Horne goes on to report that the Common Council will likely choose to rename only the one-block stretch of Pittsburgh that the Water Accelerator occupies, as well as the eventual Reed Street Yards extension. (He also notes that any concerns about having an important street named after another city are unfounded—Pittsburgh Avenue was named after a paint company.) Still, here’s hoping this minor setback doesn’t discourage Barrett from coming up with other new names for Milwaukee streets, including Innovation Lane, the Greater Milwaukee Committee Memorial Highway, and Blow Up A Car Boulevard.