City officials renamed a stretch of Park Avenue to Dominican Republic Way on Tuesday night in tribute to the city’s largest Latino community.
Park Avenue between Straight and Summer Streets will now also be known as Dominican Republic Way, according to the resolution.
More than 45,000 residents of Dominican descent call the Silk City home. Council members said the renaming is appropriate to recognize a community that has called the city home since 1947.
The stretch of Park Avenue being additional named is dotted with Dominican owned businesses — restaurants, bakeries, and salons — on both sides.
“A lot of Dominicans, since the 1940s, have been contributing to the city,” said Luis Velez, 5th Ward councilman.
Velez and Alex Mendez, councilman at-large, spearheaded the renaming campaign. Both men were involved in a battle over who should receive credit for the renaming.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, settled the dispute by recognizing both Mendez and Velez for their role in making the renaming reality in the body of the resolution.
Mendez is of Dominican heritage; Velez represents the 5th Ward which has a large Dominican population.
“It was my idea initially. Councilmen Mendez and Velez stole it from me,” joked Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman. He said this spotlights the contributions of the city’s Dominican community.
The city’s Dominican community had been looking to rename Park Avenue for a long time. It failed four years ago when former councilman Julio Tavarez attempted to rename Park Avenue to Juan Pablo Duarte Way after the founding father of the Caribbean nation.
Velez said he brought this back as Dominican Republic Way to make it more acceptable to the council.
Council members approved the renaming without opposition on late Tuesday night.
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