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Hales Corners seeks signs of interest in New Berlin Road name change

Aug. 5, 2014

Hales Corners — Local veterans have already expressed interest in changing the name of New Berlin Road to something more homegrown, like Hales Corners Avenue or Memorial Drive, and the now village will begin gauging public interest in the proposed name change.

Postcards will be sent out to homes. The mailer with include practical and financial implications of the name change, such as updating driver's licenses and mortgage information.

Trustees emphasized during an Aug. 4 village board meeting that feedback — especially from those who live on South New Berlin Road — is essential before the village will consider moving forward with the project.

"Technically doing it is a piece of cake, but the devil is in the details with public reaction," said Michael Martin, director of public works. "... It's not impossible, but it's a task."

Depending on resident interest, an ad hoc committee may be formed to investigate the next steps of the name-changing process and the financial burden. Village board members have considered changing the name of New Berlin Road in the past and are likely to bring it up again in the future, trustees said.

Calculating the financial component would allow the village to "have something in the file of the costs to put the issue to rest in the future," said village board member Don Schwartz, who served as a liaison for the veterans groups.

Since the 1870s, the namesake road has pointed to New Berlin, the village's next-door municipality. The road serves as the village's unofficial "center," housing City Hall, the public library, the veterans memorial, Hales Corners Park and Pool and the police department.

Alternatives to a full-fledged name change include installing an honorary name above the existing road sign — similar to the way Highway 32 is referred to as Red Arrow Highway, or how a portion of Interstate 94 in Chicago is called the Edens Expressway.

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