North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 20, 2013

Gardendale road to get new name after namesake convicted of crime

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — A major thoroughfare in Gardendale will soon have a new name.

Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight, who represents the area, announced Monday night during a Gardendale City Council meeting that the commission will change the name of Mary Buckelew Parkway in just a few days.

The parkway stretches from Mt. Olive Road to U.S. Hwy. 31 in north Gardendale.

The commission announced several months ago that it would change the name after former county commissioner Mary Buckelew, the road’s namesake, pleaded guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice. She admitted to lying to a grand jury about accepting $4,000 in gifts from an investment banker in a case involving the county’s sewer scandal.

The county commission had been requesting input from the public about a new name for several months.

The Mt. Olive landfill is on Mary Buckelew, but there are no other business or houses on the road that would have to change their address.

Knight said he has talked with Scott Barber, owner of Dewey Barber Chevrolet, which is moving from Warrior to just off of Mary Buckelew Boulevard. Knight said the business needs to know what the name of the road will be so it can begin printing material with its new address.

“It’s the county’s right and ability to name the road, but we don’t want to do that without your input,” Knight said to the city council. “It’s still up in the air.”

Commissioners have been tossing around several names, which have been suggested by various individuals. Among them are:

• Crooked Creek Parkway, for the creek that winds through the area

• Horse Branch Parkway, for the nearby hill of that name

• Great Cliff Parkway, because there is a steep cliff nearby

• Holly Oak Parkway, for a nearby subdivision

• Mary Morris Parkway, for an early pioneer who helped settle the nearby town of Morris

• Barber Drive, for the Chevrolet dealership moving there soon

• North Jefferson Parkway

• Graham Parkway, for a man who was a land agent for Andrew Jackson in the 1800s. He was the one who named Crooked Creek, Knight said.

Knight said the commission’s most serious considerations right now are Crooked Creek Parkway, Barber Drive, North Jefferson Parkway and Graham Parkway.

He said he does not believe the road should be named after a county commissioner.