Road name change approved

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005

WINTON – A change of address is on its way for a group of residents living along a Hertford County roadway.

After debating the issue for three months, Hertford County’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution here Monday calling for the renaming of Beer Garden Road – SR 1185 near Murfreesboro – to Tower Road. That proposal was earlier approved by the state Department of Transportation, who is in charge of maintenance on the road, and the Murfreesboro Fire Department, who provides emergency service to that area.

The change was first discussed at the Commissioners October meeting. There, county leaders were informed that, due to the unique name of the road, Beer Garden Road signs are apparently the targets of souvenir hunters. It costs the county $100 to replace each sign on occasion when they turn-up missing.

In earlier meetings, Hertford County Rural Addressing Director Rose Stephenson informed the Commissioners that she had spoken with Beer Garden Road residents in regards to changing the name. She said there was no consensus among the residents to what to rename the road, prompting the Commissioners, during their November meeting, to opt for Tower Road (in reference to one of Murfreesboro’s water towers being located at the end of the road).

At a Dec. 20 public hearing regarding the proposed name change, one Beer Garden Road resident, Lillian Pugh of Murfreesboro, spoke out against the county’s proposal. Pugh said she had not been contacted concerning the issue and attempted to contact Stephenson in regards to leaving the road name intact. She added that Stephenson did not return her telephone call.

With that said, Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer suggested tabling the issue until Stephenson could clarify some information.

&uot;We have not seen any written documentation from Mrs. Stephenson concerning her discussions with the residents there on Beer Garden Road,&uot; said Farmer at the Dec. 20 meeting. &uot;The only report we’ve heard is one where Mrs. Stephenson said she had verbal discussions with those residents.&uot;

Board vice-chairman Curtis Freeman echoed Farmer’s sentiments by suggesting he needed to hear more from Stephenson before reaching a final decision.

Stephenson addressed those concerns at yesterday’s meeting, saying she attempted to contact Pugh, but with no success.

&uot;I went to her home, but no one answered the door,&uot; Stephenson stated. &uot;I returned her telephone call, but received no answer. I went back to visit her home and there was a car in the driveway, but again no one answered the door. I knew someone was there because I saw someone peeking out the window.&uot;

Commissioner John Pierce asked Stephenson if those Beer Garden Road residents that signed a petition approving a name change were aware (at the signing) of the new name.

&uot;The county had yet to come up with a new name when that petition was passed around,&uot; she answered.

The petition, which bore 13 signatures, also raised another concern for Pierce. He said he took notice of one particular signature. He stated he knew this resident and knew what her signature looked like. Pierce said the one on the petition did not appear legitimate.

However, the Board – especially Farmer and Freeman who had concerns at the December meeting – appeared content that Stephenson had adequately performed her job in regards to informing Beer Garden Road residents about the proposed name change.

Freeman motioned for Beer Garden Road to become Tower Road, effective immediately. Farmer seconded and the motion passed.

The county will notify the current residents of Beer Garden Road in regards to the steps they must now take concerning change of address.