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Name Game

WINTON – “River Herring Drive” didn’t make it.  Neither did “County Manager Road”, nor “Johnnie Farmer Drive”, nor “Highway 158 Road”.

These were some of the names submitted to Hertford County Land Records and E-911 Addressing Director Sara Turner’s office during the month-long Road-Naming Contest for the county’s new courthouse and government center, which is expected to be completed before year’s end.

Contest information was published online and in the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald from Oct. 6-to-Nov. 1.   While several hundred suggestions were submitted both to the county’s website as well as its Facebook page, only 94 entries met the criteria to be considered for the contest.

“There were many interesting names and stories submitted with the entries for this contest,” said Turner.  “While staying true to the statement that we want to use a name that is pleasant sounding, easy to read, and carries a sense of pride, we also wanted a name that was unique and engaging.”

Monday at the regular meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners, Turner revealed the top three names from E-911 Rural Addressing that met the criteria of the contest.

While there were other names on Turner’s list that the Commissioners could consider, the final three suggested names were: Authority Drive, Heritage Drive, and Justice Drive (the last one being simple, yet powerful).

“Basically what I’m doing is presenting you a letter from my department making a recommendation to choose from the submitted names,” Turner explained to the board in her presentation. “I’ve also included all of the submitted names that met the criteria and the rules.”

Turner also had a page of names that didn’t make the cut along with her reasons for elimination.

“With some modification some of those names could be used, but when submitted as is, they could not be used,” she said.

Because the contest ended on Saturday and the board met just 48 hours later, no decision was expected to be made.  The Commissioners perused the submissions and some smiles could be seen on their faces as they read over the list.

“With E-911 standards we try not to duplicate any road name, or any portion of a (current) road name,” Turner remarked. “So even though a name may be different, a portion of it may be the same.  We got a lot of Benjamin Wynn Drives.  Well there’s already a Benjamin Lane in the county, so therefore that disqualified.

“There were a lot of Hertford County Roads”, she admitted.  “Well, there’s already a Hertford County High Road, so they would be disqualified; and a lot of those disqualifications are because a portion of that name already exists.”

Turner went on to explain that submissions that used initials were DQ’d because of the rules of the contest (no initials); and the same rules applied to names with improper suffixes.

“By the very definition of the road that’s going in there, the two existing suffixes had to be either a ‘drive’ or a ‘road’,” Turner said. “A lot of people wanted to put ‘plaza’, or ‘way’, or ‘boulevard’; and all of those suffixes have specific definitions that don’t meet the criteria of that road that’s going in because they’re not a municipality, or circle.”

County Manager Loria Williams expressed delight that so many residents participated.

“At this point it’s up to you members of the board,” Turner contended.  “I’m sure (county) Attorney (Chuck) Revelle will give you the specifics of how to make that a legal name and get it on the plaque, and once it comes through the system we will map it and finally be able to address the new courthouse and government center properly.”