BUTTIGIEG ANNOUNCES NEW STREET TO HONOR DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Today, Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center on the 88th birthday of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that portions of St. Joseph and Michigan Streets will be renamed to honor Dr. King. This name change answers a longstanding call from the community to name a prominent street fitting Dr. King’s great legacy.
“After a thorough and inclusive process, I am thrilled to honor Dr. King’s legacy with the naming of one of our city’s most prominent and improved downtown streets,” Buttigieg said. “Now is as important as ever to remember his message of equality and justice. I thank all who participated in this process, and look forward to this way for South Bend to demonstrate our shared values.”
The new “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard” will start at the current St. Joseph Street and Western Avenue in the south and will end at Michigan Street and Marion Street in the north. This stretch is nearly one mile long and includes the South Bend Community School Corporation’s administration building, Century Center, Doubletree hotel, former Hall of Fame building, new Marriott hotel site, and several other significant properties as addresses. The renamed street also includes bus stops and bus routes.
This step builds on the work of former Mayor Stephen Luecke, who designated the current Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in 2005 to be the former Chapin Street from Washington Street in the south to Lincoln Way West in the north. Mayor Buttigieg will rename this stretch as “Charles Martin Sr. Drive.”
Mayor Buttigieg signed a resolution passed by the Common Council in May 2015 to establish a volunteer committee to help identify a more prominent street. The committee included President Robert E. Smith, Vice President Samuel Brown, Secretary Charlotte Pfeifer, John Charles Bryant, Debra Walker, and Cheri Richmond. In July 2016 the committee recommended to expand the existing street but was open to alternatives satisfying a number of criteria, including the visibility and prominence of the route. The street announced today satisfies all of those criteria.
Indiana Code 36-7-4-405 grants the mayor the authority to name or rename streets unless a local ordinance transfers the power to the area plan commission. There is no such local ordinance transferring this power.