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City of Bloomington to rename Jordan Avenue, create task force with IU



Mayor John Hamilton is convening a task force with IU to begin the process of renaming Jordan Avenue, according to a City of Bloomington press release Thursday.

The task force will comprise seven members, including city residents, IU faculty and administrators, according to the release. The co-chairs of the task force are Elizabeth Mitchell, a journalist, filmmaker and historian of Bloomington’s African-American community, and Alex Tanford, Maurer School of Law professor emeritus of law, according to the release.

The task force will review name proposals for Jordan Avenue south of 17th Street as well as the extension north of 17th Street, according to the release. Residents can submit proposals of new names for the street through this form.

Jordan Avenue is named after David Starr Jordan, IU’s president from 1885 to 1891 and a professor of zoology from 1875 to 1891. Jordan was an influential member of American eugenics movement, according to the press release.

The IU Board of Trustees voted to rename Jordan Hall, the Jordan River, the Jordan parking garage and a section of North Jordan Avenue in October 2020. They are now named Biology Building, Campus River and East Parking Garage, respectively. IU did not select a new name for the section of North Jordan Avenue. IU has the authority to rename the extension north of 17th Street, but the city has the authority to rename the section south of 17th Street, the release said.

“Together with IU, the city is committed to promoting inclusion and equity in our community, and can not continue to honor a historical figure who so clearly opposed those values,” Hamilton said in the release. “We recognize that this change may be a temporary inconvenience, but the action is necessary to stand clearly together in denouncing racial discrimination and its legacies, and ensuring everyone feels welcome on our streets.”

After the task force proposes new street names, the Bloomington Plan Commission will hold a public hearing and will notify residents of the proposed names at least 30 days prior to the hearing.

The Bloomington Plan Commission will vote to adopt the new names which will take effect, if passed, no sooner than 90 days after the vote.

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