The Smithfield Town Council approved the names of three roads that will be impacted when the future Booker Dairy Road Extension opens by the end of the year.
In a 4-to-3 vote on Oct. 1st, the council agreed to rename the existing Booker Dairy Road and the new constructed roadway from Buffalo Road eastward to N. Brightleaf Boulevard (US 301 North) as Ava Gardner Avenue.
The existing section of Booker Dairy Road from a newly created T-intersection eastward to its current intersection with N. Brightleaf Boulevard near Belk’s will remain Booker Dairy Road.
A small street near the T-intersection previously had road frontage on Booker Dairy but will not once the new road opens. Seven residents on the newly created street will use the name Old Booker Dairy Road.
If it all sounds confusing it is. Members of the town council debated at length over the multiple sections.
Mayor Pro Tem Travis Scott made a motion to rename the new roadway Ava Gardner Parkway, saying it’s the way to the Smithfield Community Park. However the proposed road name failed in a 3-to-4 vote. Only afterwards was Ava Gardner Avenue approved 4-to-3.
“There are lots of ideas,” Scott said. “It’s hard to satisfy everyone.”
The NC DOT contacted the Town of Smithfield earlier this year saying it was the town’s responsibility to name the road. The name of the existing section of M. Durwood Stephenson Highway from W. Market Street (US 70) to Buffalo Road will not be changed, only from Buffalo Road to the new intersection with N. Brightleaf.
The new Ava Gardner Avenue will impact several homes and businesses including the State Employees Credit Union, Awakening Church, Neuse Charter School, Grace Community Assembly of God, Smithfield Selma High School and the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center (SRAC).
A public meeting with property owner was held at the SRAC on Sept. 12th to gather feedback. Thirteen people met with town officials. Officials from Smithfield Selma High School suggested the new road should be named “Spartan Way” but withdrew the road name request prior to the council’s Oct. 1 meeting. A representative of Neuse Charter School opposed the Spartan Way name.
The new extension should open sometime in December, weather permitting, at which time the new road names will take effect.