Plant City commissioners directed staff to explore further the possibility of changing the name of one of the three roads named Thonotosassa in Plant City during their meeting Aug. 13.
Business owner Dean Snyder approached the commission to consider the change in March. Snyder reported customers and clients often had a difficult time finding his office.
Furthermore, most GPS devices have difficulty giving accurate directions in the area.
The three Thonotosassas include a segment from Interstate 4 to West Baker Street; a short segment between that Thonotosassa Road and North Mobley Street; and a third from North Mobley Street to Alexander Street.
If a renaming were to take place, city staff recommends that it occur on the middle section, which is city-owned and therefore would not require Florida Department of Transportation approval.
“That segment has the fewest number of businesses that would be affected,” City Manager Greg Horwedel said.
At its March 12 meeting, the city commission directed staff to contact the 10 business owners on that segment of Thonotosassa Road. However, since then, the city only had received feedback from two of the owners.
The Plant City Observer conducted its own inquiry and found several business owners who opposed the idea.
“Historically, to me, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to make this change in the way they are proposing,” Dr. Howard L. Howell, of the Tooth Caboose, said. “We’ve been here since 1977, and this has been Thonotosassa Road all the way back from the inception.”
Scott Smith, of Youman’s Drafting and Design Inc., agreed.
“I think if you make the name change, it will confuse the people that have been here before,” he said.
Liz Gray, office manager for Dr. Leonila D. Camba (property owner of Strongtower Insurance), said changing the name could present logistical problems.
“Dr. Camba doesn’t like the idea, because it will cause us to have to change all of our business cards, stationeries and other records,” she said. “We haven’t had a huge problem with people finding us.”
Commissioner Bill Dodson said changing the name of only the middle section wouldn’t solve the problem; the third segment from Mobley Street to Alexander Street also presents confusion.
Ultimately, the commission directed city staff to make contact with all property owners and businesses on both the second and third segments of Thonotosassa Road. Horwedel said the city also would host a public forum for those parties to address the commission.
Staff Writer Matt Mauney contributed to this report.
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