Street name debate divides Haywood Road community

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT – Haywood Road may not be Haywood Road for much longer.

Macon-Bibb Commissioners held a public hearing to discuss the possible name change for the road.

A road name–simply a way to communicate for most.

But for these community members, it means a history and a legacy.

The two sides of the debate are clear: those who want to change the name of Haywood Road, and those who want to leave it.

“It’s been this way for…since the mid-50s!” said Haywood Road resident Evelyne Glover-Evans.

Glover-Evans has heard cars drive up and down Haywood Road for years.

 

“The people that are here–we’ve been here since 56, the Hutchins ’55, the Webbs up there, the Whitbys,” said Glover-Evans.

 

But now, with the chatter she’s hearing, she can’t believe her ears.

 

“But it’s hard for me to believe that he would drive up this street, and see ‘don’t change my street name’ that he would want his name on this street,” said Glover-Evans.

 

Glover-Evan’s home shares Haywood Drive with St. Luke Baptist Church.

 

The late pastor’s name: Reverend Marshell Stenson.

 

“(He was) a great compliment to and a great help to this community,” said church member and Haywood Road resident Jerry

 

A name the church hopes will live on through a road sign and a memory.

 

“I just feel like the street should be changed to Marshell Stenson Jr. because of the person he stood for in our community,” said church member Cheryl Andrews.

Renaming a street to remember a 44-year pastor.

 

“He forgot himself and devoted his life to helping others,” said church member Hamp Swain.

To church members, he helped many, but for homeowners like Glover-Evans, not so much.

 

“The church have(sic) never engaged itself in this community,” said Glover-Evans. “Most churches do community days, Easter egg hunts, you know all those type of things. To my knowledge, that church haven’t(sic) done any of that.”

 

And that’s why signs lined Haywood–do not change the name of the street.

 

“This is our street this is our legacy and we want it to remain this way,” said Glover-Evans.

 

Macon-Bibb Commissioners hosted a public forum to discuss the issue.

Both sides voiced opinions to the commissioners.

 

“Years from now, when, young, old, walk or drive through the neighborhood, we hope they’ll see the signs reading Marshell Stenson Jr. Drive and someone might ask, well who is this Marshell Stenson or who was this Marshell Stenson person? And of course we can proudly say, he was a servant,” said Swain.

 

“So hopefully will come out in our favor, if it don’t we will continue to fight it,” said Glover-Evans.

 

For now, the road will remain Haywood.

Commissioners will send the resolution to change the name back to a committee discussion and vote.
 

If it does change, residents will pay nothing.

They’ll only have to fill out a change of address form–something the church has offered to assist with, if needed.

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