This major Fort Worth street that ‘sounds kind of funny’ could soon have a new name

It's time for a more inclusive and Fort Worth-specific name for White Settlement Road, say Mayor Mattie Parker and others, and they want residents to join in on how they can use the busy street to highlight the city's diverse history.
The opening of the White Settlement Road bridge to downtown provides an opportunity to honor someone who is important to Fort Worth, Parker said, and a chance to reevaluate the name of the street in the same way. Although ideas for a new name have been around for a while, she said that she didn't have a specific name in mind.
"I think we have a special opportunity to reconsider that name," Parker told Star Telegram, adding that she feels "really strong" about changing it. "We can say 'OK Fort Worth, what do we think is the best name for this thoroughfare?'"
Parker said she will ask city officials during Tuesday's council meeting to begin investigating a name change. She expects a significant public contribution, so no schedule has been set.
The street takes its name from White Settlement, a suburb west of Fort Worth. By the time White Settlement was founded in the 1840s, originally where Westworth Village is now, it was the first white parish to be surrounded by seven Native American villages, according to the White Settlement Historical Museum. The modern road generally follows the route from Fort Worth west to the village.
While the city's name may have historical significance, Parker said there isn't much that directly relates to Fort Worth.
“If you look at the history of the name, there is nothing significant to Fort Worth. There is no historical relevance to us, ”she said.
How Fort Worth renames streets
There are two ways the city can rename a street: memorial or official. Regardless, an applicant will typically need to get 100 percent approval from the property owners about the name change and pay a fee of $ 700 plus the cost of the signage.
The most common way is by naming the monument, the least complicated of the two processes. An honorary name doesn't change the official street name, so businesses or local residents don't have to change their address, said Tanya Brooks, deputy director of the city's transportation and public works department. Because naming a memorial is easier, it's often preferred by people who want a name change, she said, and the city council has historically been more willing to forego fees and the 100% consensus rule.
Last fall, Fort Worth honored the Allen Avenue and Maddox Avenue section as the Atatiana Jefferson Memorial Parkway. Jefferson, 28, was shot dead in her home by Fort Worth Police on October 12, 2019. The parkway runs past her house.
Earlier this year, the city also gave honorable name changes to a street in the predominantly Hispanic North Side. Portions of 28th Street / Ephriham Avenue were renamed Dolores Huerta Avenue and part of NW 28th Street was honorably named César Chávez Avenue.
The changes to Dolores Huerta / César Chávez Avenue cost $ 11,500 for signage, according to city records. An estimate for the Atatiana Jefferson Memorial Parkway was not available.
Although official name changes are less common, the city grants them. Often they are on shorter stretches of road where it is easier to get support for the new name. The section of White Settlement Road in question is more than four miles long.
Parker said she will apply for fee waivers to rename White Settlement Road.
Change the white settlement
The discussion of renaming the White Settlement Road in Fort Worth has been a recurring affair for more than a decade, said Dee Kelly Jr., an attorney who was often involved in conversations about the name change. Kelly said the name doesn't reflect modern Fort Worth.
"It's a gate, a major thoroughfare for Fort Worth," said Kelly. "It's time to change it."
In the mid-2000s, White Settlement city guides and the Chamber of Commerce grew tired of the city's name fearing it could be detrimental to business, according to news archives. In a city election in 2005 to change the name, around 2,500 voted with an approximate margin of 9 to 1 to keep the name White Settlement.
West Settlement and West Road have been circulated as possible proposals in the past. Unofficially, there have been talks about using the road in honor of Opal Lee, who campaigned for Juniteenth as a national holiday, or retired Judge Clifford Davis, who led desegregation litigation in Fort Worth, Mansfield, and Little Rock schools.
Darin Norman, co-director of River District Inc., said he hadn't heard any serious concerns from companies in the district about the name of the street. In general, the River District is the section of commercial and residential development that has emerged along White Settlement Road north of the Riverbend neighborhood and south of River Oaks. It encompasses the shops and homes from the river near Brookside Drive west to West Worth Village.
He wondered if the logistical effort of changing addresses, business listings, and other information had been off-putting.
"I think it would take a champion to do that through a major public process," said Norman. "It takes something that is either a grassroots effort or political leadership to get it through."
In February, before the bridge opened earlier this year, the Star Telegram asked some city and business leaders about the name.
Steve Metcalf, a mechanic who worked in the business district along White Settlement Road near downtown, said the name has come up repeatedly since opening Dealer Alternative at 2701 White Settlement in the late 1990s.
He recalled being asked for the address when setting up accounts, especially with overseas sales partners, when he started the business. Those questions continued, he said, recalling a recent call from a supplier who had a double opinion when Metcalf gave his address.
“They'll say, 'Wait, really? Is it White Settlement? ‘” He said. "Every now and then it happens because it just sounds weird."
In the repair shop's earlier years, Metcalf said he was considering putting together a petition to change the name.
Aside from sounding strange to people outside of Fort Worth, he said it felt racist and created confusion with people who thought his business was on the White Settlement route to west Tarrant County. At the time, a longtime local business owner seemed angry at the idea of ​​changing the name, Metcalf said. Although his efforts to change White Settlement Road never got off the ground, he said he would now support a name change.
Metcalf joked that given the number of car dealerships and auto repair shops along the street near downtown, the street should have a car name. He also suggested naming it after Panther Island, the nearby Trinity River canal project.
Parker said she wasn't sure she would support a volunteer name change or an official name change, adding that she knew an official change would require more work. Like Metcalf, she said she heard from people across Texas and the country who were put off by the name.
“If it's causing problems, I think we really need to investigate a full name change with address changes,” she said. “I don't have a preconceived notion either way. I think we have to examine all possibilities. "

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