Glendale CA – On Tuesday, June 12 Glendale City Council passed a resolution renaming the two blocks of Maryland Avenue between Wilson Avenue and Harvard Street to Artsakh Avenue. Mayor Sinanyan, Councilmembers Najarian, Gharpetian and Agajanian voted for, while Councilmember Devine abstained. The Council also passed a resolution authorizing limited reimbursements of specified costs associated with the street name change, and appropriated $131,000 to address the fiscal impact.
The Armenian National Committee of America Glendale Chapter (ANCA Glendale) expressed strong support of the resolution and urged city staff to assist the business community with the financial impact of the street name change.
While speaking in front of the Council on Tuesday evening Community Outreach Director Margarita Baghdasaryan stated that, “The name Artsakh has a historical and cultural significance to the Armenian American community and will serve as wonderful educational opportunity for Glendalians interested in the history of the Republic of Artsakh and the Artsakh liberation movement. Furthermore, the name change will attract tourists and likely increase foot traffic in the area, making it the lively pedestrian promenade the city has been trying to create.”
She added that ANCA Glendale would like to extend a hand of support to the business community and the city in order to assist with the transition. Nearly three months ago on March 13, 2018 the City Council unanimously voted to initiate the process of renaming a public right of way in honor of the Republic of Artsakh. The option to rename a stretch of Maryland Avenue was chosen among several alternatives as being the best fitting option. Although the business community expressed concerns with the street name change due to the expenses the businesses and vendors would incur, the community-at-large rallied around the idea because of the historical and cultural significance the name Artsakh provides for the Armenian American community.
Glendale City Council members addressed the legitimate concerns of the business community and agreed to appropriate funds to assist businesses with the expenses related to the address change.
Glendale residents who gathered in support of the name change, spoke about the cultural significance of the name Artsakh, the benefits a street name change would bring to the local businesses, and the cultural awareness it would provide.
Councilmember Najarian reviewed the various street names that reflect different geographic locations and the rich cultural history of the city. He also stated that, “it is overdue to have some sort of modestly sized street name, where the reference is to the current Armenian American community.”
Councilmember Gharpetian remarked that this is about unifying our community and celebrating the contributions of the Armenian American residents. He stated that “by changing the name of two blocks of this street we are honoring the Armenian Americans who have been here for over 5 to 6 decades, we are honoring their heritage and their history.”
Councilmember Agajanian supported the name change with emphasis to assist the impacted businesses.
Mayor Sinanyan addressed some of negative comments the city had received from various community members stating, “the Armenian American community contributes a lot to this city, they pour their hearts and their pockets into this city. They live here, their children grow up here. Don’t deny them feeling at home and feeling like they belong in this city. It’s just not fair. I think the time has come. It’s actually overdue. Having two blocks of a street named after an Armenian placename is not such a hard thing to ask for.”
The ANCA Glendale Chapter advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels. Learn more at www.ancaglendale.org