Longtime homeowners on Cedarwood Drive in Lexington's Oakwood Subdivision reacted angrily Wednesday night when told that the city has proposed changing the name of their street because there is another Cedarwood Drive.
The subdivision is off Georgetown Street in northern Fayette County.
To make it easier for police and firefighters to reach victims in distress, all street names have to be unique, David Lucas, director of enhanced 911, told a gathering of Oakwood residents.
The dilemma is this: There are two Cedarwood Drives, separated by a 5-foot berm. Cedarwood Drive in the Oakwood neighborhood opened in 1964. Cedarwood Drive in the adjoining Coldstream Subdivision opened less than 10 years ago.
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Lucas stressed that the city's address committee — made up of representatives from police, fire, the U.S. Postal Service and the property valuation office — recommended the street-name change. Because Cedarwood Drive in Coldstream has two more houses than the part in Oakwood, the committee recommended that the Oakwood section get a new name.
"We have not changed anyone's address. This is a proposal," Lucas said.
Lucas came to Wednesday's meeting with two proposals: bulldoze the berm and connect the two sections of Cedarwood Drive or change the name of one of the Cedarwoods. But the first option won't work, resident Anna Bolling told Lucas, because the Urban County Council passed an ordinance on Aug. 21, 1998, to keep the berm.
When Coldstream was developed in the late 1990s, the Planning Commission voted to join the two parts of Cedarwood Drive, but Oakwood residents appealed that decision to the council.
With the street closed, "There is one way into our neighborhood, one way out. It's safer that way," said Bolling, who was involved in that neighborhood dispute.
Emotions ran high Wednesday about the possible name change.
Paul Kavanaugh, whose family has lived in Oakwood for 40 years, said residents were not even aware a city committee was making a decision that affected their neighborhood. "We don't want a committee set up making decisions about our neighborhood without us being involved," he said.
Another resident, Donnie White, said, "To me this is like integrating the schools. They closed down our schools and put all the burden of integration on the black community. Same thing here."
Oakwood is a historically black neighborhood; Coldstream is predominantly white.
"Cedarwood on the other side has been there five or six years," White said. "But they're going to change our side because they have two more houses over there. That's ignorance. Always the burden is on the black community to do the changing. I want to know what the benefit is to the black community."
Asked why there could not be a Cedarwood 1 and a Cedarwood 2, Lucas said that could be confusing to emergency workers.
What about Old Cedarwood and New Cedarwood? Bolling asked.
The city does not really like adding "old" and "new" to street names, yet there are plenty of examples where that has been done, Lucas said: Old Cassidy, Old Main Street and Old Harrodsburg Road, to name a few.
If push comes to shove, there could be Old Cedarwood and New Cedarwood, Lucas said after the meeting.
He will hold a meeting with Coldstream residents. Asked why both groups did not meet Wednesday night, he said, "experience has taught us those don't work well." A date for the Coldstream meeting has not been set.
Bolling was appointed to be liaison between the Oakwood neighbors and the address committee's appeal board. Its next meeting is 9 a.m. Aug. 19 in the fifth-floor conference room of the Phoenix Building.
Lucas said he would work with Bolling to file a neighborhood appeal.