FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker told city leaders this week she’d like to consider starting the process to rename White Settlement Road and the newly-opened White Settlement Bridge.
The completion of the bridge this spring as part of the Central City Flood Control Project, opened the door to name it for more iconic, historically significant people or moments, Parker explained in a statement.
The name has raised eyebrows and prompted questions for years. It comes from a reference for where settlers lived, apart from Native Americans, west of downtown Fort Worth.
Previous attempts at changes haven’t been successful, including a public vote in the city of White Settlement in 2005.
The process to change the bridge name may be easier than changing the road, which stretches for about four miles from downtown.
The understanding is the interest is in officially changing the street name, not adding an honorary name which is often done as a memorial.
Fort Worth’s official name change process requires the Fire Department to approve the name.
It also says there must be 100% consensus from property owners on the street.
County records indicate there are several hundred owners along the road, although the process does allow the city council to pass a proposal to waive that requirement to start the official process.
There would have to be at least two public hearings, along with notifications to utilities, the U.S. Post Office and emergency services.
It’s a lot, although some pushing for change don’t believe it should stop the city from trying.
“You look at the major sports teams right now like the Washington Football Team and the Cleveland Guardians,” said Allie Bills, who lives in White Settlement. “I would argue if big national sports brands can make the effort to change their names, I think a town could work to change the name of the road.”
Bills was aware of the name growing up in North Texas, but never thought strongly about it until she moved there.
She compared it to a movie title generally describing what it’s going to be about.
During the movement this year to combat Asian hate, she started an online petition to change the name of the city of White Settlement.
She was reminded of her grandfather who she said was forced into a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
“So when you hear the name White Settlement that definitely conjures up those perceptions and feelings about what the city may stand for even if that’s not correct,” she said.
Bills hasn’t presented her petition to the city yet, but said she still plans to pursue it.
There’s no timeline for Fort Worth to make its changes yet, but Parker said she’d like for the process to be discussed over the council’s next several meetings.