Celebration to mark MLK street renaming

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 16, 2007

Residents will gather at a local restaurant Saturday in anannual celebration of the dedication of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Drive.

Saturday’s celebration marks the third anniversary of therenaming of Hamilton Street to Dr. MLK Jr. Drive.

“It’s going to be a party,” Rose Powell said. “It’s in honor ofour men and women across the way this year.”

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It will be the first time the celebration has been held in honorof anyone or anything, Powell said, but organizers felt they neededto recognize the achievements and sacrifices of soldiers who haveanswered the call, both past and present, in the current war onterrorism.

It is also the first time the celebration has begun in theevening or been held outside of the Dr. A.L. Lott Sportsplex.

“Last year it was just too hot, so we decided to do it in theevening this year,” Powell said. “It will be an outdoor event sobring your lawn chairs and mosquito killer.”

She said she hopes others will step forward and hold othercelebrations along the route. The event is sponsored by the OFoundation, which was founded as a result of the renamingefforts.

“This is just what I’m doing along with the O Foundation to showwe care about the community and what happens to it,” Powellsaid.

The celebration will open at 5 p.m. with a parade beginning atPerkins Hardware on Brookway Boulevard and ending at Polly’sRestaurant on Second Street. The route will be marked by yellowribbons to remind participants of this year’s dedication, shesaid.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron and Mayor Bob Massengill willwelcome the audience at 6:30 p.m. before turning the mike over topolitical candidates to give a brief stump speech. Speeches will bedelivered on a first come, first served basis and are limited tofive minutes, Powell said.

A gospel music concert featuring the Christian Soldiers andhosted by the Rev. Ronnie Pool will start at 7 p.m. Choirs, groupsand soloists are welcome to take the open stage following theperformance.

“We’re going to try going until about 10 p.m.,” he said.

Powell said she expects about 10 vendors to set up booths in theparking lot of the restaurant.