City of Murfreesboro administrators and elected officers gathered to celebrate the unveiling of new street signage for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The street renaming and dedication ceremony took place Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, at Patterson Park Community Center.
The Planning Commission voted May 19, 2021, to rename Mercury Boulevard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to recognize Dr. King’s contributions to racial equity and to reflect the City’s commitment to diversity.
City Councilman Kirt Wade advocated the change to honor the Civil Rights’ leader in Murfreesboro. Council referred the renaming to the Planning Commission which is authorized to consider and approve street naming changes. The Commission’s authorization renames the two-mile stretch of Mercury from Southeast Broad Street to South Rutherford Boulevard.
The renaming of Mercury Boulevard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. recognizes the national contributions of the slain civil rights leader in advocating racial equity through non-violence in the 1960s and reflects the commitment of the City to embracing diversity within the community. Mercury Boulevard is in an area of the City that has significant cultural and historical importance, including Patterson Park Community Center, the destination for the annual MLK Jr. Day March honoring Dr. King’s birthday.
The City Transportation and Engineering departments are currently engaged in a sidewalk construction project on the newly renamed street to enhance pedestrian safety. The federally funded TDOT grant project, Transportation Alternative Program (TAP), announced in 2017 (Phase 1) and 2019 (Phase 2), is providing a sidewalk system to a section of street where no sidewalks currently exist along the high-volume roadway. The improvements will be installed along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (previously Mercury Boulevard) from SE Broad Street to Middle Tennessee Boulevard.
The system includes ADA compliant pedestrian crosswalks, crossing push buttons, pedestrian signals and marked sidewalks. On April 8, 2021, Council approved a construction contract with low bidder Charles Dewesse Construction, LLC of Franklin, KY for $1,100,292 and $131,272 to Neel Schaffer, Inc. for professional services. The City is matching 20 percent for the Sidewalk Project, $286,224, from the 2018 CIP.