Throckmorton Street

A Tuesday discussion about the fate of two McKinney streets named after a controversial figure will continue after the city gets more community input.

At a McKinney City Council work session meeting, Assistant City Manager Kim Flom and Traffic Engineer Robyn Root presented results from a survey designed to get stakeholder input about changing the names of Throckmorton Street and Throckmorton Place. The streets, named after former Texas Governor James W. Throckmorton, have become a topic of discussion as Throckmorton’s legacy has been called into question. The discussion follows deliberations over the fate of a statue in downtown McKinney of Throckmorton, which City Council members have yet to decide on.

In June, Flom asked City Council members if they wanted to consider changing the street names as comments regarding the change had come during City Council meetings, during stakeholder meetings for the East McKinney redevelopment and preservation project and from the Throckmorton Ad Hoc Advisory Board, which was formed in July as the city considers what to do with a statue of Throckmorton that sits outside to the McKinney Performing Arts Center.

The name change would impact 36 residential properties, 27 commercial and multi-family properties and two historical sites: the Throckmorton Street Church of Christ and the site of Doty High School, which was once the city’s only high school for Black students.

According to survey results presented Tuesday, the city achieved a 44% response rate overall in its efforts to get input from stakeholders, who are defined as business owners, property owners or tenants on Throckmorton Street or Throckmorton Place. Of the 16 property owners who responded, nine opposed changing the name while seven supported a change. Of the 16 homeowners who are stakeholders, one said they supported a change, five said they were in opposition and 10 did not respond.

“Generally, given the response rate we had and the responses, the data was a little bit inconclusive, meaning it didn’t provide a really compelling case across the board for one option or another,” Flom said. “It’s a little muddy in the middle.”

Before the presentation, McKinney resident Beth Bentley had asked city council members to consider allowing stakeholders to come together and discuss their opinions. She added that she’s always known the street to be associated with east McKinney.

“That being said, it has belonged to Holy Family School, it has belonged to E.S. Doty. It has belonged to the east side,” she said. “And so while it’s great to include those that are along the street, it really belongs to the community, and so to maybe just continue to hear what else might potentially be said, I just would like to offer that as an opportunity as you deliberate,” Bentley said.

After the presentation, Councilman Rick Franklin said he agreed with Bentley and suggested gathering more input.

“I want to keep that information, I want to keep that in play, but I think we need to reach out to the rest of the community,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Rainey Rogers said he felt the data indicated the topic was a non-issue for stakeholders.

“When people won’t answer, won’t respond, that’s a response,” he said. “Most every survey says that that’s a no, that they’re not interested in changing.”

Councilman Justin Beller spoke in favor of gathering more input.

“You’re looking at an opportunity the city has with moving city hall to the east side and kind of allowing the east side to remember what’s so special about it, and what’s more special than the road that goes down the middle of it, and I think it’s an opportunity to create identity in that,” Beller said.

Mayor George Fuller said the discussion was based on an opportunity to pay tribute to the history of McKinney’s east side rather than being based on the controversy of Throckmorton.

The City Council in the end gave consensus to allow the city to gather more input both from stakeholders who didn’t originally respond and from the community at an already-scheduled Jan. 20 neighborhood meeting. Flom suggested gathering data for community members who are interested in the topic in a separate survey.

“I think it’s important enough for us to continue and try to engage as many people as we possibly can in a different manner,” Councilwoman Geré Feltus said, “because you have to understand, there are still going to be some people who actually do care and still don’t speak up, and it’s nice to just ask them their opinion.”

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