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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – He was sometimes polarizing in life. Now the late Dallas City Councilman Al Lipscomb could be at the center of a new tug-of-war with another Dallas icon: Grand Avenue. Current council member Carolyn Davis wants to rename part of it Al Lipscomb Way.

Lipscomb was Dallas’ longest serving city council member. Ultimately, he resigned in disgrace over a federal bribery conviction, though it was later overturned on appeal. Still in South Dallas, Al Lipscomb is remembered as a civil rights champion.

“Speaking out on injustice, speaking up for the poor and really trying to make a difference in the lives of people,” said Davis, the force behind renaming Grand Avenue. Her proposed 1-point-6 mile Al Lipscomb Way would stretch from Lamar to the gates of Fair Park.

“This really was his heart: South Dallas/Fair Park,” Davis claimed.

Lipscomb’s daughter, LaVette Lilpscomb-Dudley, told CBS 11 News by phone, “The Lipscomb family is deeply humbled and honored. My father and our family made many sacrifices as he worked for over 50 years to make this city a better place for all, especially those that were locked out and left out.”

Davis hopes the name change, along with some infrastructure improvements in the pipeline here, will help continue revitalization like this in an area that desperately needs it.

“It’s long enough, it’s wide enough,” Davis said of Grand Avenue, adding, “Streetscaping that we’re getting ready to do here on Grand, Four-Way improvements that we’re going to be doing at both ends of Grand, I thought this would be fitting.”

Graham’s Barbershop #6 is one of the businesses along Grand Avenue that would be effected. Customer Joe Patterson likes the idea. “I think it’s a marvelous development and a good contribution for him [Lipscomb].”

Owner Johnny Graham III believes the cost of reprinting business items and the like would be minimal in light of what he considers to be Lipscomb’s contributions. “ [There have been] a lot of positive things that Mr. Lipscomb has done for the community over the years, and I think it’s really important for the younger generation to know and understand the history.”

But not all the younger generation is on board, like area resident Kajuna Walker. “Well, I think Grand — the name — is history,” she said. “So, I think they should leave it the same. Because it’s history. Everybody’s used to it.”

City staff has given Davis’ initial proposal a “do-pass” recommendation. The full council could get it by next Spring.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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