North Toledoans work on name changeWritten by Kate Giammarise | | email@example.com
With several recent high-profile crimes and the lingering memories of the 2005 riots, many North Toledo residents are tired of the bad rap their neighborhood has.
So the neighborhood community development and advocacy group United North had an idea — along with the work the group does to improve housing, safety and bring businesses to the area — why not try to change the neighborhood’s name?
More than 100 neighborhood residents met on May 20 at the Chester A. Zablocki Senior Center, 3015 Lagrange St., to talk over potential new monikers. Proposed names included Polaris One, Polaris Flats, ONE (Old North End) Village, Polaris Circle, Skyway North, Toledo Heights, United North Village, Rainbow North, ONE Village Circle, and United ONE.
People brainstormed about names and the neighborhood’s past and future. Emilio Ramirez, principal of Woodward High School, said whatever name is chosen, United North will make sure it isn’t already trademarked and will test it with the media.
Ramirez emphasized United North is interested in more than just a cosmetic name change.
“This is a piece of everything we’re trying to do here,” he said.
United North is working on a number of projects, such as financial assistance for business startups, a mural project for youth, and getting funds for repairs and renovations to homeowners as part of a “curb appeal” project. United North is made up of two community development groups, Lagrange Development Corp. and NorthRiver Development Corp. After having worked together for more than a year, the groups are formally merging.
“Now that both neighborhoods are working together as one community, Lagrange or NorthRiver doesn’t describe the geographic area,” according to a United North statement about the name change. “Choosing the right name is critical to celebrating the community’s history while laying the groundwork for a successful future.”
Important to the change is replacing the word “north,” Ramirez said. “North End has a negative connotation. You think of North End riots, North End fights, North End burglaries.”
United North’s Executive Director, Terry Glazer, added, “A new name shows a new direction.”
Opinion was decidedly mixed among the residents at the meeting.
Angel Place resident LaToya Carter said she prefers Skyway North.
“It sounds really nice,” she said.
Allean Williams, who lives in the neighborhood, said she liked the name Polaris Circle. Still, she said, it may take elderly people a while to get used to the name change. Can people who have known the neighborhood as “North Toledo” their whole lives suddenly change because of a re-branding campaign?
Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara said he thinks it’s possible.
“You’ve got all the community leaders in this neighborhood in the room,” he said at the May 20 meeting, “If they agree to use it, it will catch on.”
Stephen Corzette, who is new to North Toledo, said he liked all the names presented at the meeting, but he added, “No matter what we do, it’s still going to be the North End.”