URBANA — Aldermen will vote Monday on changing the name of Plantation Point after six of the 13 homeowners on the street petitioned the city to do so.
Mayor Diane Marlin has said she supports the change, and city administrator Carol Mitten is recommending the street name be changed to River Birch Lane, a reference to a common tree species on the street that the homeowners voted on.
“We are writing to request a change to the name of our street, Plantation Point, as the word ‘Plantation’ has inferences to a Plantation’s historical role in slavery in addition to other definitions of the word,” Angie and John Dimit wrote on behalf of the homeowners supporting the change. The group also suggested Gracehill Lane as a name.
The death of George Floyd spurred the petition, Angie Dimit said, but it had been discussed earlier.
“The murder of George Floyd and others brought us to action and urgency,” she said. “It was also discussed last year, and some residents started discussing it at that time. Due to family responsibilities at that time, I wasn’t able to be an active part of those discussions.
“As you can see, the current decision was not unanimous.”
In the first round of voting that 11 of the 13 homeowners responded to, six voted in support of the name change, four voted against and one abstained.
In a final vote on which name to recommend, one homeowner abstained, one didn’t vote because they opposed changing the name and one of the 11 who voted for a name added a comment that they still opposed changing the name, Dimit said.
Two anonymous residents wrote to the city in opposition to the name change, citing the definition of ‘plantation’ in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary not mentioning slavery and the inconvenience of changing addresses on official documents and other records.
Dimit acknowledged the hassle but said it was worth it.
“It is very complicated,” she said. “But from our opinion, it’s much more important to change the name of the street than to worry about those challenges.”
Plantation Point sits at the center of the Stone Creek Golf Course in southeast Urbana.
The golf course was developed by The Atkins Group and is being donated to the University of Illinois.
Dimit said the homeowners in support of the name change have consulted with Illinois athletics, and “they expressed their support of a name change.”
The Atkins Group is also “supportive of the name change,” according to the letter.
Mitten said public works department staff have vetted the proposed street name with different city departments, utility companies, county offices, the Urbana Park District, MTD, METCAD and the post office.
“No objections or other concerns have been raised,” she said.
If approved, the street name would be changed 30 days after the city clerk notifies election authorities and the post office.
The Urbana council will also discuss what steps it wants to take regarding the future of public safety and policing.