Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the great folks at the Midtown Urban Renaissance Corporation (MURC) in Neptune Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. I really like this group and their bottom up approach to community organizing and rallying support for local development projects (when the projects meet the needs of the community). Plus, they’re really good people and I learned a lot working with them and I continue to learn from working with them.
Last week’s Coaster newspaper included an article that talked about how the township committee in Neptune was considering changing the name of the street where a major redevelopment project is taking place. This project is being spearheaded by my former employer as the developer in partnership with MURC as the community sponsor. The name of the street is West Lake Avenue and the idea is to change the name back to Springwood Avenue. The Springwood Avenue name is the historical street name. The Coaster article talks a little bit about the name change to West Lake Avenue…
Asbury Park changed the street’s name back to Springwood Avenue several years ago. The name was changed to West Lake Avenue after the 1970 riots in an attempt to improve the image of the area.
“I would be very much in favor of changing the name back. Historically it has always been Springwood Avenue and it has a very rich heritage,” he said.
The “he” in the quote above is Neptune Township Mayor Randy Bishop. I’d be in favor of renaming the street by its historical name so long as it is a resident-spurred initiative. If a group like MURC or a group of residents from the street come together to support renaming the block, then I think it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
All I know for sure, though, is that the redevelopment project being built on the current West Lake Avenue is going to do great things for this area of Neptune Township!