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Council Committee Rejects Street Name Change

Tammy Daniels

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Community Development Committee rejected on Tuesday a proposal to name a street for a famous former resident and, instead, find a better way to honor him.

"I don't think we should rename streets except for to address public safety issues," said Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer. "It's costly."

Local historian Paul W. Marino had approached the City Council last November to consider renaming the section of Summer Street between Ashland and Church streets for Lue Gim Gong, a horticulturist who bred the late-maturing orange often named for him.

Lue had lived for a time in the Burlingame house on the corner of Summer and Church that is now better known as the offices of chiropractor Peter May.

Lue Gim Gong came to North Adams as a boy.

Blackmer acknowledged Lue's accomplishments, particularly the orange ("Which I guess is great for all mankind.") but didn't think changing street names was an option. Larry Murray, a resident of that section of Summer Street, said he, too, was opposed to the change because of the aggravation it would cause.

Fellow committee members David Lamarre and Michael Boland agreed that renaming the street should not be recommended to the council. Councilor Marie Harpin, also in attendance, thought her colleagues were right.

However, they were open to other possibilities of honoring Lue, who spent most of his life in the state of Florida but kept in contact with North Adams residents.

"I think something more in the spirit of his accomplishments," said Boland, who suggested renaming one of the planned pocket parks for him or possibly the greenhouse program at Drury High School. "Since his history is a horticulturist, maybe tie something into that."

Marino said, "monuments have a tendency to become invisible." He'd hoped for the street change and a marker at the private Burlingame house to reinforce name recognition.

Lamarre and Boland thought that might be accomplished at Western Gateway Heritage State Park — a path and/or garden area named for Lue and a display at the North Adams Museum of History and Science.

The committee voted to refer the matter to the Conservation Commission and the Historic Commission.

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