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Downtown's King Drive name change to be promoted by Milwaukee visitors bureau

new street sign
Chuck Quirmbach
A golden cloth is lifted to reveal the new street sign at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and Wisconsin Ave.

The local convention and visitors bureau said it plans to broadly publicize a street name change that officially took place in downtown Milwaukee Monday.

Third Street from Wisconsin Avenue, north to McKinley Avenue, is no longer Old World Third Street. Instead, that stretch is now Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, matching the long-existing King Drive name north of McKinley.

Lindsey McKee is the communications manager for VISIT Milwaukee. She said the name change will be promoted.

"We always try to promote how diverse and amazing Milwaukee is, and this is a great example of that diversity, literally being brought into our downtown area and into the heart of our city," McKee said.

McKee said the name "Old World" is not completely going away.

"The Old World Third Street Entertainment District is now located on MLK Drive, which is amazing. Again, it speaks to our diversity. From German, to African-American, to everything in between, we are a destination," she said.

Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs speaks at the King Drive re-naming ceremony on Monday.
Chuck Quirmbach
Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs speaks at the King Drive re-naming ceremony on Monday.

A political compromise 38 years ago created the Old World street designation in the blocks near Usinger's and Mader's. Those two establishments are still there. But Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs said conversations over the years with her daughter and now-deceased civil rights icon Vel Phillips convinced Coggs to propose the street name change.

Her idea received unanimous support from the Common Council.

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