MELBOURNE, Fla. — A meeting so big that it won't fit in city hall chambers took place Tuesday over whether Melbourne leaders should rename a street after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- City to consider renaming Airport Blvd to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
- Area business owners worry they will have to change addresses
- RELATED: Business Owners Concerned Possible Street Re-Naming Could Be Bad for Business
Melbourne City Council has voted 6-1 in favor of renaming Airport Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
A second reading on the ordinance will happen in July.
Inside the Hilton, it was a packed crowd for the city council meeting and as the discussion continued, Councilmember Tim Thomas motioned to change the name to Martin Luther King Jr.
"I respect the values of Martin Luther King stood for and its something thats been asked for time for 32 years now and time we honor him," Thomas said.
During the meeting, city leaders considered renaming Airport Boulevard between Apollo Boulevard and New Haven Avenue, to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. And it is not the first time that it has tried to name a street for King.
The city has tried repeatedly since 1987 to rename a street in Melbourne after the slain civil rights leader.
City leaders have chosen Airport Boulevard, after a committee in 2005 recommended the city select that road to be renamed.
Proponents want to have some kind of long lasting and permanent tribute to King's commitment to civil rights, equality and peace.
"Dr. Martin Luther King was for all Americans, and in today's climate, we need to be more inclusive and I think this is step to recognize the work he has done," explained Shaaron Staley.
However, the decision would impact 41 properties, including 22 businesses. They would have to change their addresses and worry it could confuse customers and visitors.
Some business owners along that stretch will not be happy if it gets renamed.
"You change your street name is like changing your last name," said Manar Alahachek, co-owner of Falafel Stop.
He says he would have to get brand new business cards as well make some other changes.
"Businesses cards, the menu, social media, and people know the street name, they have to change in their mind its Martin Luther King Jr.," said Alachek.
Letters from some residents to the city say it does not make sense to rename Airport Boulevard, especially since Melbourne's airport is located right next to the street.
The last time this was discussed last month, the council chamber room hit capacity.
Tuesday's first reading of the ordinance was held at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, which is near Airport Boulevard.