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HIGH SPRINGS – Commissioners spent the majority of the regular meeting last Thursday discussing possible alternatives for the road currently named in part as N.E. First Ave.

The roadway, which begins at U.S. Hwy. 441 and runs into U.S. Hwy. 27 at Main Street, has been referred to as First Avenue by residents for years. With the beginning of E-911 addressing changes, Alachua County proposed naming the entire road U.S. Hwy. 27.

Business owners, unhappy with the County's proposed “U.S. Hwy. 27” designation for one of the main roadways running through town, were told by County officials the City could choose another name for the roadway, but would be responsible for paying for the new signage. “The cost of the signage change would be approximately $1,500,” said City Manager Ed Booth.

During the meeting, Paul Regensdorf, co-owner of Grady House Bed and Breakfast, commented that the county's proposed U.S. Hwy. 27 designation led visitors to believe their B&B was located out in the country instead of close to downtown High Springs.

The County had previously suggested the City choose a name for the roadway that reflected its historic railroad past if they didn't want the road designation as U.S. Hwy. 27.

Commissioner Sue Weller made a motion near the beginning of the discussion to name the road “Wes Skiles Boulevard” in honor of the deceased resident who was internationally known for his underwater photography and research.

Although the motion received a second, continued discussion referred back to the County's suggestion of a historic railroad-related road name.

City Attorney Scott Walker reminded commissioners that there is a set of guidelines they would have to follow as part of naming a street after a person which would not be required if they stuck to the historic railroad-related option.

A proposal to name the roadway “Junction Avenue” was made with a caveat that the City send a letter to each of the property owners impacted by the change to alert them that a final decision would be made at the Feb. 11 meeting.

A decision was made to add smaller brown signs under the new roadway signs with a notation as to the former name of the road at a cost roughly estimated by Booth to be approximately $1,200.

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