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City of Bloomington asks for public's help renaming Jordan Avenue

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Posted at 2:55 PM, Apr 26, 2021

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University and the City of Bloomington are turning to the public for help naming a major street across campus.

Officials are looking to rename Jordan Ave. Named after IU's president from 1885 to 1891, David Starr Jordan.

Jordan — a proponent of selective breeding, racism, and white supremacy — was honored in the 20th Century with the placement of his name on several places around the IU Bloomington campus. The influential eugenicist's name could be found on the building that houses the IU Department of Biology, Jordan Hall, Jordan River, Jordan Avenue Parking Garage, and, of course, Jordan Avenue.

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After former IU president Michael McRobbie recommended the changes to a board and the city in September, it was voted a month later to remove Jordan's name from the university building, parking garage, and river.

Jordan Ave., the road south of 17th St., however, was both an entity of IU and the City.

"The university has authority to rename the Jordan Avenue Extension north of 17th Street, and the City has authority to rename the segment south of 17th. The two entities are coordinating through the City’s task force to rename both segments," a statement from the City read.

Those seeking to voice their input for the street's new name can do so by submitting a form online. A task force convened by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton will review all submitted proposals and select new name options.

A notice of the proposed names will be sent to all property owners and residents in the area at least 30 days before a hearing.

"For the change to be adopted, the Plan Commission will adopt a resolution establishing the new names, which will go into effect no sooner than 90 days after the vote," the City's statement read.

“Together with IU, the City is committed to promoting inclusion and equity in our community, and can not continue to honor a historical figure who so clearly opposed those values,” Mayor Hamilton stated. “We recognize that this change may be a temporary inconvenience, but the action is necessary to stand clearly together in denouncing racial discrimination and its legacies, and ensuring everyone feels welcome on our streets.”