CLEVELAND - Faucett Bess owns some properties on Imperial Avenue, but when he lists homes available to rent in Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood, and prospective renters find out the houses are on Imperial Avenue, "they lose interest."
Bess is just one supporter of a proposal by Bishop Eugene Ward Jr. with Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church and the Mt. Pleasant Ministerial Alliance. Ward said there have been some meetings with several members of Cleveland City Council about possibly changing the name of the street where 11 women lost their lives at the hands of serial killer Anthony Sowell.
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"There's a stigma to Imperial Avenue. It's poor for business and homeowners trying to rent homes, it has led to a calamity in the community. So, we're looking into changing the name," Ward explained.
Several neighbors said they liked the idea of changing the name of the street too, but still want to see a memorial park erected to remember the slain women where Sowell's house once stood.
Ward said plans are being discussed to turn the vacant lot into a park to remember the victims. He also wants to talk with all of the victim's families before anything official is done. Ward believes the name change will happen, eventually.