Tonawanda News

Local News

October 17, 2013

Streets to be named after Walmart, St. Jude

Tonawanda News — Three streets in North Tonawanda will undergo name changes in the coming weeks after the city council voted to approve the measures on Tuesday, including the elimination of perhaps the last remaining vestige of the renowned Melody Fair. 

Melody Lane, monikered after the fair, and Lyric Lane, will become St. Jude Circle, after a request by St. Jude the Apostle Parish was accepted by the council.  

Bluebird Drive, named after a bus company once located on a stretch off of Wurlitzer Drive, will become Walmart Way, a tilt to the 2012 addition of the mega store in North Tonawanda, which came about through an initiative launched by Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka. 

Zadzilka said he had initially pitched the name Rollover Drive to mangers at Walmart and fellow councilmembers, referencing the company’s sales slogan, though in the end it seemed more appropriate to make it less corporate-influenced. He also cited the company’s $471,000 tax contributions to the city, schools and Niagara County despite claims by critics that the store will lead to the shuttering of locally owned enterprises.  

“The Blue Bird garage is defunct and there is nothing remotely associated with the business,” he said. “Walmart took a chance coming to NT and has invested in our community and built a store on an area that was a brownfield. And resident like it.” 

A letter sent to the council by a parish trustee, Joseph Mantione, stated that the two streets — Melody and Lyric lanes — soon to bear the church’s name, were already effectively combined into one due to the opening of Walmart. He also cited the church’s nearly finalized community center addition and the fact that no other businesses could be found along either street as reasons for the request. 

“We believe and hope that this new center will enhance the area and help continue the growth of the parish,” Mantione wrote. 

Zadzilka said Department of Public Works employees are in the process of making new street signs for the name changes, which could be put in place by next week. 

“It’s tipping the hat to Walmart and saying thank you to St. Jude’s for investments in our community,” Zadzilka said. “They’re building business in North Tonawanda  and have been good neighbors.” 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115. 

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