What's in a name

I learned from the N&O's excellent new Orange Chat blog that Roger Perry's University Village project has changed it's name to "East 54" due to Chapel Hill Planning staff concerns that the "University" name could confuse emergency responders. The staff has raised the same issue about other recent projects such as "McCorkle Place" condos, which are located across from the UNC quad called McCorkle Place.

Problem is, while East 54 definitely sounds hipper, it's even more geographically ambiguous than the previous name - it's the name of an entire road!

Meanwhile, former Town Council member Pat Evans is reactivating the group calling itself "Friends of Downtown." (You know, as opposed to those enemies...)

The erstwhile Chapel Hill Downtown Commission set up the Friends of Downtown initially as a 501c3c nonprofit, so it could accept tax-deductible donations for the commission, Evans said.

But after the council shifted the funding it had provided to the commission to the new Downtown Partnership, the commission's board of directors voted to dissolve the organization in 2005.

The Friends group carried on, with a fairly informal approach and a small bank account to help with programs such as the brick planters in downtown that individuals and various entities "adopt" and maintain with flowers and greenery.

Local architect Josh Gurlitz is vice chairman of the group, and Landy Qualls and Roland Giduz are on the board as well. Evans said the group could add more board members if needed.

The group also does things such as judging the window-decorating contest for downtown businesses during the holidays.

For Evans, it also means keeping an eye out for little things during her morning walks from home to get coffee downtown, such as noting a trashy spot that needs cleaning, or e-mailing the Public Works Department a thank-up for the truckloads of new mulch spread in areas along Franklin Street recently. She also constantly removes those creative -- but prohibited -- flyers from utility poles.
- Friends of Downtown plans public meetings, 1/21/07

Well I am a noted lover of the urban parts of our community, but I won't be attending any of their meetings. They are taking place at 10 am on the last Thursday of each month at another place with an unoriginal name: The Franklin Hotel. Perhaps this group should also seek a less ambiguous name. May I suggest "Retired, Unemployed, and Independently Wealthy Friends of Downtown?"


I am not retired, unemployed or independently wealthy. I can attend meetings during the day if I plan ahead. Everyone can't do this but note that everyone doesn't have a daytime work schedule.

I think the real problem here is that there are so many meeting that desire broad and diverse input that there is no way possible that you can devote every evening to meetings. If it were not for some daytime events, I couldn't attend. Just like today's Chamber Annual Meeting, 11:30 to 1:30. Somehow almost 500 people - the largest attendance ever - crowded into the ballroom of the Carolina Club (largest group that they ever served a sit-down lunch) to hear Chair Charlie Fisher review last year, new Chair Anita Badrock share her vision for this year, see awards presented, and hear an excellent address by President Erskine Bowles. BTW, you can catch a rebroadcast by WCHL at 6:00 pm, but then you need to be at the Hargraves Center at 7:00pm to share your views on the qualities for a new police chief, so tape it.

Congrats to Joe Hacknew for receiving the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award, and DSI Comedy (new), Chapel Hill Wine Co. (small), Lantern Resturant (mid), and Chapel Hill Resturant Group (large) for their awards.

I did forget the category of people who get paid to go to various meetings that relate to their work (eg: Chamber members). Personally, I'm a consultant and have a more flexible schedule than many, but I can't just pop out in the middle of a workday on a regular basis.

I guess "Carolina North" should be renamed "86 North".

Exactly, Gerry. By the same logic we should re-name Mama Dip's to "West Rosemary," and "The Franklin" will have to share its name with a few hundred other businesses.

(Cool new blog, BTW!)

When I was on the Council circa 1975 we had one developer who was upset with someone in the Planning Department and turned in a plat with a street called "Muhammed Alley". They made him rename it because it was shown as 30 feet wide Right-of-Way and the code at the time required all alleys to be 10 feet wide or less.

(no, he was not trying to honor the boxer, this was not an MLK issue)

thank for the compliment on the blog.


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