City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 11/17/2020  
From: Sarah Langley, Management Analyst

Consideration and Adoption of Ordinance No. 2020-32:  An ordinance of the City Council of the City of Flagstaff, changing the name of Agassiz Street to ____; providing for severability, authority for clerical corrections, and establishing an effective date
At the November 17, 2020 Council Meeting:
1) Read Ordinance No. 2020-32 by title only for the first time
2) City Clerk reads Ordinance No. 2020-32 by title only (if approved above)
At the December 1, 2020 Council Meeting:
3) Read Ordinance No. 2020-32 by title only for the final time
4) City Clerk reads Ordinance No. 2020-32 by title only (if approved above)
5) Adopt Ordinance No. 2020-32
Executive Summary:
Louis Agassiz was a Harvard zoology professor who conducted studies to try to scientifically prove a theory of racial superiority of certain groups. Following Council direction to rename Agassiz street, staff has engaged the public in creating and ranking a list of potential new street names for Agassiz street. Staff is seeking Council direction in selecting a new street name and moving forward with the renaming process. Please note that an updated presentation will be provided for the final agenda.
Financial Impact:
There has been no funding budgeted for this project. It is estimated that the replacement of the 26 street signs that currently display the Agassiz name will cost approximately $9,800. This money will come from the Streets section budget, account number 040-06-161-0613-6-4358.

An additional potential cost is compensation or reimbursement to property owners for costs incurred related to the street name change. During the June 16, 2020 meeting, Council did not give direction to staff to compensate or reimburse property owners for such costs. During the November 17, 2020 meeting, if Council directs staff to compensate or reimburse property owners for costs related to the street name change, funding could possibly come from the Council Initiatives account.
Policy Impact:
This item does not impact current policy.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
  • Inclusive & Engaged Community
  • Livable Community
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
  • During the June 16, 2020 Council Meeting, City Council directed staff to begin the process of renaming Agassiz street.
Louis Agassiz conducted studies to scientifically prove the theory of polygenism, a belief that “races” of people could be ranked by levels of development, with white Europeans being at the top level of development and African people being at the bottom. Polygenism was used by proponents of slavery to justify enslaving people who they sought to prove were genetically inferior.

During the June 16, 2020 Council meeting, the Flagstaff City Council directed staff to begin the process of renaming Agassiz street. Staff began by hosting four virtual town hall meetings from August to September of 2020 to gather a list of new street name suggestions from the public. A list of 56 name suggestions and their accompanying rationales was then vetted by City of Flagstaff GIS section, Coconino County, Emergency Services and the Postal Office to ensure that they could be used safety as a street name. Eighteen name suggestions remained after this vetting process, with the most common reason for a name suggestion to be excluded being that there was already an existing street within the City or County limits that was very similar.

After the list of name suggestions was finalized, City staff ran a survey on Community Forum from October 19 – November 3, 2020 in which the public voted on their first choice out of the list of 18 name suggestions. An overview of the votes received for each name suggestion is included in the attached presentation and the Name Suggestions Listing document.
Final Presentation
Ord. 2020-32
Final_Listing of Name Suggestions


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