Yaupon Drive, long associated with crime and drugs, has to wait for name change

A bicyclist crosses Yaupon Drive on Monday, March 6, 2017.
A bicyclist crosses Yaupon Drive on Monday, March 6, 2017. jlee@thesunnews.com

Residents along Yaupon Drive, a street long associated with drug use and prostitution, could wait another four to five months as they search for a new street name.

People in the area have been working for about six months to change the name, which they say could help improve their property values by removing the stigma associated with the current name. Yaupon Drive has been the site of numerous drug and prostitution arrests over the years.

Councilman Phil Render, who attended the Monday meeting, said he supports the area’s “effort to show pride in their neighborhood.”

Mayor John Rhodes, who was also present Monday night, said he also supports the change.

“We’d like to help them do it,” he said.

The name change would only go into effect along the road from 29th Avenue South to 19th Avenue South, and city officials also say some kind of marker needs to be in place to denote that the name of the street changes at 19th Avenue. Teller suggested a sign at the intersection, which Rhodes said he supported.

City Manager John Pedersen, however, said the city could also construct a traffic circle at the intersection, which he said would cost around $6,500.

“A traffic circle’s what we’ve been focused on,” he said.

Those in support of changing the name of the street had originally wanted to call it “South Beach Drive,” but Craig Teller, the head of the area’s neighborhood watch group, told the gathering Monday that it’s not possible to use that name because it’s reserved by Burroughs & Chapin Co., and the planning commission is unwilling to reassign it.

“We’re not in a position to take the name from Burroughs & Chapin,” Teller said.

Teller said a committee of residents is compiling a list of new options to bring to planning, which includes options like “Newtown” or “Midway” (both former names for the neighborhood). He also said the neighborhood watch group needs to collect another 20 signatures in support of the change, in addition to the 75 they’ve already compiled.

Chloe Johnson: 843-626-0381, @_ChloeAJ