WATCH: Melbourne City Council Votes 6-1 to Rename Portion of Airport Blvd. After Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Chris Bonanno, Senior Editor & Reporter // June 12, 2019
future police headquarters TO BE NAMED AFTER Joseph Pellicano, killed in the line of duty in 1986
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Space Coast Daily’s Chris Bonanno was at the Melbourne City Council meeting Tuesday evening where residents addressed the council members about renaming portion of Airport Blvd. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. After hearing 38 residents speak, city council members voted in favor of renaming a portion of Airport Blvd. between Apollo Blvd. and New Haven Ave. after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A portion of Airport Blvd. in Melbourne between Apollo Blvd. and New Haven Ave. will be renamed after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following a vote by the Melbourne City Council on Tuesday evening.
After listening to over two hours of public comments on the matter, the council voted 6-1 on an ordinance supporting the renaming of the road with Mayor Kathy Meehan accounting for the lone vote against the measure.
“I am extremely happy,” said Lorenzo Laws, a reverend at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Church, who spoke in support of the ordinance.
“It is something that I have been praying about. It is something that I had to wake up out of a dream to come to the realization that it is done and certainly we have a couple of other challenges ahead of us but we are just extremely excited of what the council did tonight.”
The meeting was held at at the Hilton Rialto hotel in Melbourne, which was asked to host the event due to the large turnout that was expected. Some of the hundreds of people who attended event waited on lines over an hour before the event started.
The vast majority of those who attended appeared to support the ordinance.
“I think it’s about time,” said Philip Stasik, president of the Space Coast Progressive Alliance, whose organization supported the ordinance.
“Literally 20 to 30 years have passed since people first started trying to get a street named after Dr. King here in Melbourne.”
Still, there were those who spoke against the measure, including local business owners who indicated they would the change of addresses would hurt them financially.
Meehan, in discussing why she voted no in remarks during the meeting, also added that “Airport Blvd. is the wayfinder to the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport.”
A resolution to name the future police headquarters that will be located on the northeast corner of NASA Blvd. and Apollo Blvd. after Dr. King did not pass.
Instead, the council was seemingly unanimous in their decision to the name the headquarters after former police officer Joseph Pellicano, who Vice Mayor Debbie Thomas said was killed in the line of duty in 1986 when he was struck by a vehicle on Sarno Road.
Meehan also noted during the meeting was that Pellicano was the lone officer killed in the line of duty in the city’s history.
“Now we have this opportunity that we’re building this new facility, it only makes sense that we make it after him,” Thomas said.
An official resolution approving the naming of the headquarters could come at another council meeting on July 7.
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