I think they are wanting to distinguish themselves from Monroe, the city across the river. I know every time I talk to someone online, who has never been here, they just assume when I say I'm from "West Monroe", that I mean I live on the west side of Monroe. Two totally different cities... two totally different mayors. West Monroe has had the same mayor for 35 years... no one ever runs against him. Monroe has had about 4 different mayors in that same time span.
Trenton, Louisiana..........Proposal surfaces to change West Monroe's name
|by Joe Durham, Jr. - posted Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 @ 9:28 pm||E-mail This Story | Print This Story|
Norris gave members of the West Monroe Board of Aldermen a copy of a letter the West Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce sent the mayor,inquiring what the process would entail to change the name of the city.The letter from the chamber also asked Norris and the city in general,including the board of aldermen, to proceed immediately on a number of fronts to change the name of West Monroe.
Norris gave aldermen the letter during the board of aldermen's regular meeting.
Signed by chamber president Charlie Simpson and community development committee co-chairman Ron Stewart, the letter from the chamber said,"The members of our (chamber of commerce) Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and Community Development Committee unanimously recommend that the City of West Monroe consider changing its name to Trenton, La."
The letter asked Norris and he city to "commence a process including the following: No. 1, outline the process (to change the name of West Monroe to Trenton); No. 2, (outline) the advantages and disadvantage(concerning name change); No. 3, (determine) costs involved to local businesses and City of West Monroe (concerning name change); No. 4,(determine) approximate time-line for implementation (of name change)."
"This recommendation was reached after numerous deliberations, over a long period of time, and by a cross section of business, civic and community leaders," the letter said.
Norris said he welcomes the idea of changing the name of the city. He also said he has asked Bruce Fleming,city planner for West Monroe, to begin gathering the information needed to determine the steps the city would need to take to change its name to Trenton.
"I think it's an excellent idea," Norris said. "I think it certainly is worthy of consideration."
"This has been talked about for years," he said. "I've always said that while I personally see a lot of merit in the proposal to change the name ofthe city I think this is a proposal that should come from the people of the community and not from the city."
Norris pointed out that voters in West Monroe would have to pass a referendum to change the city's name to Trenton, though he said many questions must be answered if the city pursues the name change.
Bert Hatten, a former mayor of West Monroe who often is credited for laying the groundwork for the growth West Monroe enjoys today, said he supports changing West Monroe's name to Trenton.
"I'm absolutely for it, and I will support it wholeheartedly," said Hatten, who also owned and published The Ouachita Citizen for more than 20 years.
"Personally, I would favor creating a city/parish government west of the river called Trenton, free and independent of the rest of the parish," Hatten said.
Inother business at the board of aldermen meeting, aldermen made it official by agreeing to kick in some $100,000 in city funds as part of an incentive package for Accent Marketing to locate in the old State Farm Insurance building off U.S. Highway 165 in Monroe.
The City of Monroe already has put up some $500,000 to lure Accent to the area,while the Ouachita Parish Police Jury committed $250,000 to the incentive package. The Ouachita Economic Development Corp. kicked in $500,000, too.
State economic development officials said several months ago that local governing bodies must provide an incentive package to convince a business or industrial concern to locate in the old State Farm building.
Accent Marketing, which announced roughly two months ago that it would move into the old State Farm building, is scheduled to begin operations here in August. The company is expected to occupy 60 percent of the State Farm building, creating roughly 550 jobs and generating an annual payroll of some $11 million.
"The state really did a very good job of marketing this property (old State Farm building)," Norris said. "The state negotiated the deal for Accent Marketing to move here."
Meanwhile, efforts are ongoing to convince other businesses to locate in the old State Farm building.Local officials, though, refuse to disclose the names of businesses that are interested in moving into the old State Farm location.
On another front, aldermen signed off on a project for the expansion of the Downing Pines Road/Cypress Street (U.S. 80) intersection.Preliminary plans include turn lanes in all directions. City engineer Robbie George did not have an estimate on how much the project would cost.
In other business, aldermen gave the green light for the construction of a new Staybridge Inn Hotel. The hotel will be located on Mane Street, just west of the Ike Hamilton Expo Center.
(Sam Hanna Jr., publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, contributed to this story.)