McKinney City Council heard an update Dec. 21 from city staff about community input they had received regarding renaming Throckmorton Street and Throckmorton Place on the east side of the city.

In July 2020, the Throckmorton Statue Advisory board was assembled to examine the potential removal of the Throckmorton statue. The statue is located downtown in front of the McKinney Performing Arts Center. James Throckmorton served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and is also a former Texas governor. Last summer, city staff began conducting research related to the historical context, appropriateness and relevance of the statue in McKinney’s downtown after a number of residents asked for the statue's removal.

While the statue remains in place following an October presentation of the board’s findings, the renaming of Throckmorton Street and Throckmorton Place was identified by the board as an item for further discussion and has been requested during City Council meetings by citizens.

Staff noted in June that street renaming can be beneficial, but is lengthy and does present challenges to affected parties, such as property owners, businesses and residents. For this reason, staff began outreach to gather input on the potential renaming of Throckmorton Street and Throckmorton Place from the residents and property owners of those two streets.

In the staff presentation to council, it was shown that there are 36 residential properties and 27 commercial and multifamily properties along these two streets. Staff pointed out that several of the properties in this area are owned by the same person. The city identified 95 stakeholders, who the presentation described as “businesses, institutions, property owners and any potential tenants.”

Following the input-gathering period, staff said they had a 44% response rate from all these stakeholders. In other words, 42 of the 95 stakeholders responded. Assistant City Manager Kim Flom said as far as engagement efforts go, 44% is “robust” for a study of this kind. But the “data was inconclusive and did not present a compelling case for one option over another,” the presentation stated.

Out of all the stakeholders on these two streets, 34% were in support of changing the names, 10% were opposed and no response was given from the other 56%.

Breaking the data down further, staff told council that generally homeowners opposed a name change, while property owners who do not reside on Throckmorton Street or Throckmorton Place generally support a name change.

Tenants of the two streets did not respond at all to the engagement efforts, staff said.

“To me, what this really shows is that it's a nonissue for the people on Throckmorton,” Council Member Rainey Rogers said.

Council Member Frederick Frazier agreed with him, but Council Member Justin Beller said that people who did not respond should not be counted as a “no” vote.

“You're looking at an opportunity the city has with moving City Hall to the east side and kind of allowing the east side to remember what's so special about it,” Beller said. “What's more special than the road that goes down the middle of it? And I think it's an opportunity to create an identity in that.”

He said he thought the city should continue engagement efforts and try to hear from more members of the community as well.

Flom said that the city has an opportunity to seek more responses from members of the community at the neighborhood meeting being held Jan. 20. City staff could reopen the stakeholder surveys and try to connect with additional tenants, property owners and homeowners on Throckmorton and they can record their responses in that survey specifically for them, she said. However, city staff can also get input from anyone at the Jan. 20 meeting who may have an interest in the issue.

“We’ll separate those two data pools and bring that back to you,” Flom said to council.

Council was open to gathering more feedback. Mayor George Fuller noted, however, that people should not anonymously give input at the meeting.

“We need to know, ‘Are you a member of the community?’” Fuller said.

The feedback gathered will be presented to the council at a later date.