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Dickinson/Stark County partnership formed to keep street names straight

A trial county-city partnership was initiated Thursday to create consistency in street naming in upcoming subdivisions, making it easier for emergency vehicles and travelers to find their way through Dickinson.

"We've had several people over the last several years that have been involved in basically the names and addressing," City Planner Ed Courton said. "So we haven't had that consistency. What we would try to do is keep the numeric streets and avenues similar and try to keep that flow going."

The Stark County Emergency Management Department will be in charge of street naming for Dickinson, he said.

The new guidelines will not change existing addresses, but make sure those in developing subdivisions are named with either numbers following Dickinson's existing grid or themed names in alphabetical order, Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said.

"What we're finding is there's a little time delay in getting information between the city and the county for 911 addressing," Fahlsing said. "We're hoping that we can join forces in addressing to No. 1 get dispatch updated in a more timely fashion ... and No. 2 have a little consistency with road names."

For example, if a developer were to go with named addresses in its subdivision, it would need to pick a theme, like trees, go from A to Z from the zero point: ash, birch, cedar, etc. In Dickinson, the zero point is the intersection of Sims Street and Villard Street.

Numbered streets are the easiest to navigate, Dickinson Police Department Capt. Joe Cianni said. Named streets that follow a pattern are also not so complicated to traverse.

"They do have some locating software in their MDTs in their squad cars," he said of officers. "But it's always faster for an officer to know the general location of where they're going."

Without guidelines, streets could end up being named the same or similar things, which can confuse not only emergency services but delivery personnel and visitors, Courton said.

One example of this is States Boulevard, a short stretch of curved road leading off of Second Avenue West in the States Addition and one of Dickinson's north-south thoroughfares less than 1/2 mile away, State Avenue, which many, including city officials, refer to as simply "States."

While she doesn't know exactly when people began calling State Avenue "States," longtime Dickinson resident District 37 Rep. Vicky Steiner thinks it comes from regional dialect brought from the old country.

"I think it comes from some of the dialect languages that were spoken when they were children and they brought that accent with them," she said.

When State Avenue was widened, many didn't see the need and the City Commission and Mayor Art Baumgartner received a lot of criticism about it, Steiner said.

"It was much larger and deluxe than what we had been accustomed to in Dickinson," she said. "I wish they were alive to see the fruits of their labor."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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