The city of Owensboro has narrowed the list of new names for the Northwestern neighborhood to five choices, and a public poll is now open to help make the decision. While Neighborhood Alliance president Rafe Buckner understands the historical motivations for the project, he fears that a new name could absorb or hide Baptist Town’s history.
The poll, which can be completed here, has five names to choose from: Riverview, Dublin Village, Riverview Run, The Distillery Quarter, and The Distillery District.
The city decided to revitalize the Northwestern neighborhood – from Frederica Street to Crabtree Avenue and north of 12th Street to the Ohio River – after completing the Triplett Twist District. The full plan is called the North West Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Zone (NRSA).
The Northwestern NRSA is generally bounded to the north by municipal boundaries, Ohio River, West First Street, Ebach Street, and Schroth Street; south by the north side of 5th Street; to the east by Walnut Street; and west by Ewing Road and Texas Avenue.
The NRSA area comprises approximately 367 acres of land with approximately 69% residential area, including 25 defined residential neighborhoods including Chesterfield Court Addition, Paradise Garden and, most importantly for Buckner, Baptist Town Estates.
Buckner said he understood the importance of the distillery to Owensboro’s history.
“I understand if they want to rename [the distillery area], I understand. But if you want to take Fifth, Fourth, Third – these are the neighborhoods of Baptist Town. I don’t know, âBuckner said.
Buckner said that since living in Owensboro, he didn’t know the area was called by anything other than Baptist Town.
A name change option pays homage to the culture of those who once lived in the neighborhood: Dublin Village.
The name refers to the namesake of the village that Irish immigrants created when they settled in the area in the late 1840s. For Buckner, this name is an excellent title, but for the area closer to Dublin Lane around English Park.
The Northwest Alliance planned to create signage promoting Baptist Town. It would be located on the property of the Fourth Street Baptist Church and would welcome people to Baptist Town.
With the NRSA, he believes that parts of the neighborhood can be integrated and absorbed into a story that is not their own.
“How do you justify taking Kendall-Perkins Park?” Because it would be there. HL Neblett [Community Center] would be there. Our Masonic Lodge on Fifth Street would be part of it, âBuckner said.
Buckner understands that change and progression is natural, but thinks it’s different.
âI am attentive to progress and change. I know nothing stays the same and that change is somehow inevitable, âBuckner said. “But this is one thing I have to stand on, we have to preserve the history of Baptist Town.”