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Ocoee to smooth out street-name chaos
Looking through a window of his Get Hooked Bait & Tackle shop, Rodney Hillerich pointed at the nearby intersection, where Geneva Street and Story Road run east and west and South Kissimmee Avenue and Maguire Road stretch north and south.
“People get confused, and it’s confusing to me,” Hillerich said July 23 about the profusion of street names.
Here’s another way of looking at the problem: a driver who turns off of State Road 50 and heads north on Maguire Road will, within the next 1.5 miles, see Maguire turn into Marshall Farms Road, then South Kissimmee Avenue, then Maguire Road Extension, then H.M. Bowness Road.
“We’re a tourist state, but I’d hate to be a tourist,” Hillerich said.
Fortunately, help is on the way.
Acting on an order from Orange County 911 officials, the city of Ocoee plans to erase the Marshall Farms Road, South Kissimmee Avenue, Maguire Road Extension and H.M. Bowness Road street names and replace them with one, continuous “Maguire Road.” In this renamed setup, Maguire will extend from Ocoee’s southern city limits near Gotha and Windermere north to Franklin Street.
Also, re-addressing 16 commercial/industrial properties will be required in order for the address numbers to be logically continuous on the Maguire segment north of S.R. 50. No residential properties are involved in the changes.
“Sept. 1 is our target date (to make all of the changes),” Ocoee Support Services Director Al Butler said July 23.
He said the city planned to send notification letters of the new scenarios to the affected businesses on July 23 or 24. Also, city staff will conduct a public meeting about the changes at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at City Hall, 150 N. Lakeview Drive.
Once the new street names and numbers are in place, the U.S. Postal Service for at least one year will use a dual-delivery system, which recognizes a mail-delivery location as having two addresses. This arrangement will allow the affected businesses to continue using their current checks, letterheads and other materials.
“There were two issues: one was different street names, the other was street numbers,” Butler said in summarizing the upcoming changes. “Both of those impact emergency vehicles (including those from the county) and people trying to find your business. If a place is on fire, they’ll see the smoke. But if someone had a heart attack, you don’t want them driving up and down the road looking for a street address.”
And business owners don’t want to have to deal with lost contractors who cannot find them, he said.
Ocoee Interim Fire Chief Tim Hoover said his department’s employees have, over time, figured out the street-name puzzle.
“A lot of times, we’re dispatched to a company name,” he said. “We know that company and exactly where it’s at.”
While several other streets in Ocoee change names after crossing an intersection, the roadway between S.R. 50 and Franklin Street is probably the worst, Hoover said.
“Realigning and renumbering always makes sense,” he said.
For Hillerich, the address for his shop will switch from 670 S. Kissimmee Ave. to 670 Maguire Road. And that, he said, will be an improvement for his business, which also offers breakfast and lunch and deals in boat sales, detailing, motor repair and other services.
“In my opinion, one road name would be awesome,” Hillerich said. “I tell people I’m on Kissimmee Road, and they ask, ‘Where is that?’”
What’s in a name?
The change to the longer Maguire Road will involve renaming 38 addresses: five on Bowness Road, 11 on Kissimmee Avenue and 22 on Maguire Road Extension.
Of these 38 addresses, 16 apply to actual buildings on Bowness and Kissimmee.
“No one (on Maguire Road Extension) is using “Extension” at the end of their address,” Butler said. “Their numbers are staying the same, so they’re not really affected.”
Also, many of the addresses assigned to the “Extension” section basically serve as placeholders for vacant lots or other properties that have no buildings on them, he said.
“They are parcels that have addresses, but (the address numbers) are more for the property appraiser,” Butler said. “There are no businesses on them.”
In addition to solidifying the longer Maguire Road, Ocoee officials plan to rename the street now known as Silver Star Road Extension to Bowness Avenue. No properties on this north-south street between Silver Star Road and Franklin Street will need to be re-addressed, as none use the Silver Star Extension name.
This renaming will remove the issue of having two streets with the same root name (i.e. Silver Star Road and Silver Star Extension) and continue the assignment of the Bowness name to a city street, Butler said in a July 15 letter to the Ocoee City Commission.
While Maguire Road pays tribute to early Ocoee settler David O. Maguire, the current H.M. Bowness Road and future Bowness Avenue acknowledge Hartle Bowness, who was a civic and business leader in Ocoee.