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The Daily Tar Heel

Aldermen no more: Carrboro board changes its name after 50 years

MLK Park
The site for the proposed MLK Jr. Park is located at 1120 Hillsborough Road. Development has been delayed for over two years due to the increasing cost of materials needed to build the park.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen held its last meeting of the term Tuesday night to discuss a name change, noise ordinance and potential murals at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Here's what went down.

A name change 50 years in the making

The board voted unanimously to change its official name from “Board of Aldermen” to “Town Council.”

The board has had the title of Aldermen since 1969, when the General Assembly passed into law an act to revise and reorganize the charter of the Town of Carrboro. Before that, the board was known as the Board of Commissioners.

Recently, board members have expressed various motivations for supporting the name change, including the importance of gender-neutral names and accessibility for town residents.

The board was able to be referred to as the Board of Aldermen, Town Council, Board of Commissioners or Board of Councillors. Other names would require action by the General Assembly.

The change will go into effect on Dec. 3. 

When noise becomes too much noise

The board voted unanimously to adopt an amendment to the town code that alters the noise ordinance. The amendment gave county officials the ability to regulate animal noise complaints, which was hindered under the previous ordinance.

The previous ordinance outlawed animal noises that were continuous for a minimum of five minutes on at least three occasions. The time period where these noises were prohibited was limited to the hours between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. 

Carrboro Police Chief Walter Horton said in his presentation that, based on the time period described in the ordinance, officials could not investigate or regulate animal behavior that might be a nuisance. He said his officers and animal control would be investigating and handling complaints on a case-by-case basis.

The board also voted unanimously to fold the Carrboro animal appeals board into the larger structure of the Orange County animal appeals board. The amendment would ostensibly allow the board to meet more frequently than it previously had.

Both amendments went into effect as soon as they were voted on. 

Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory lives on in Carrboro

The board heard recommendations for murals, quotes and other signage for Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Four murals were presented along with 11 quotes from King.

The board unanimously passed a resolution to use three of the 11 quotes recommended by the Board of Parks and Recreation.

Council member Barbara Foushee said she would like to see additional quotes that don't hold anything back from King’s vision. 

“This is a town park, and I really want to see Dr. King honored in his totality, not in pieces. These quotes have to be palatable and inclusive of all who visit the park because you’ll have any number of visitors come into the park,” Foushee said. “Depending on who is reading the quotes there will certainly be different reactions to what people read, but this is who Dr. King was and it's part of our history that must be told as it is.”

The board will ask for further recommendations from the Youth Advisory Committee of the Town of Carrboro, the Youth Committee of the NAACP, the full committee of the NAACP and the Truth Plaque committee. 

The board unanimously passed a resolution to incorporate the celebration for the opening of the park with Martin Luther King Jr. day celebrations in January.


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