VALDOSTA -- Three Lowndes County roads will soon have new names as commissioners voted unanimously to change the names of Park Avenue Road, Forrest Avenue and Ridge View.

Park Avenue Road will now be known as Hunter-McCormick Road, Forrest Avenue will be Fountain Avenue, and Ridge View will be called Ridge View Court.

There were no public opinions voiced about the name changes for Forrest Avenue and Ridge View. However, two people spoke in favor of and against the Park Avenue name change.

In addressing commissioners, Joanne Statem cited lost mail and the length of time it takes for emergency services to reach her home because of confusion between Park Avenue and Park Avenue Road.

"I have had to pay late fees because my mail goes to Park Avenue," Statem said. "I have a handicapped sister that I care for, and sometimes the ambulance goes to the wrong place."

Statem said she spoke with all the residents of the road and obtained the necessary two-thirds majority in order for the name change to be considered. Her sister JoE Statem also addressed commissioners, asking for their consideration.

Henrietta Hodge, resident of the former Park Avenue Road, told commissioners she doesn't see why the name change is necessary.

"I have lived on that road all my life, and I have never had any problems with mail," Hodge said. "I understand that they have had problems, but things happen ... the name shouldn't be changed just because one person has some problems."

Another resident of the road, Joshua McCormick, explained that the road name is significant to his family history and that the Hunters and McCormicks have been engaged in a family feud for years over the naming of the road.

"I wish the whole thing would just stop," McCormick said.

Later in the discussion, Commission Chairman Rod Casey allowed further comment on the issue, and Joanne Statem said that Hodge herself had signed the original petition for the name change.

In response, Hodge said, " I thought she was selling candy."

After brief questions from commissioners Richard Lee and Joyce Evans, commissioners voted in favor of the name change.

In other business, commissioners voted unanimously in support of a plan to spark county participation in the United Way.

The plan is as follows: Each employee who contributes an amount equal to or greater than one day's pay will receive an additional day of vacation in the year 2002. Each employee who contributes an amount less than one day's pay will receive an additional hour of vacation in the year 2002.

To contact reporter T.S. Rose, please call 244-3400, ext. 245.

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