“I’m proud of Kansas City — so proud,” Diane Euston, a member of Save The Paseo, said in a video posted to the group’s Facebook page, “because we felt like people just weren’t heard.”
The group objected to the City Council’s decision to waive a rule requiring that 75 percent of residents sign off on any street name changes. Supporters of MLK Blvd. said that rule has rarely been enforced.
Euston said the group wanted to see King honored in Kansas City but not at the expense of “people who didn’t have a say.”
“And now, today, they had a say,” she said.
Former Councilwoman Alissia Canady, who voted against renaming The Paseo for King, said in the video the issue was difficult because she respected the MLK Blvd. supporters, led primarily by the Kansas City chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a group of clergy from the East Side. King helped found the SCLC.
“They wanted to do a good thing, but they went about it the wrong way,” Canady said. “And the voters of Kansas City have decided.”
The vote caps a year and a half of debate, which started after the ministers approached the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners with the idea of renaming The Paseo for King and were rebuffed. The parks department oversees the city’s boulevard system.
At the same time, then-Mayor Sly James formed a citizens’ commission to hold public hearings and make recommendations on how to honor King. That commission recommended The Paseo as a third option behind the forthcoming single terminal at Kansas City International Airport and 63rd Street.