2-mile stretch of Third Street in Downtown Memphis renamed B.B. King Boulevard


BB King is one of the many artists that will be featured in the National Museum of African American Music when it opens in Nashville, Tennessee.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What's been talked about since B.B. King's death is now about to happen: The city of Memphis will have a street to honor the blues legend.

Thursday morning the Land Use Control Board hit the last note with a unanimous vote to rename a 2-mile stretch of Third Street to B.B. King Boulevard.

It came after some concessions. The plan was initially to take the Third Street name change from Crump Avenue on the south all the way to Chelsea Aveunue on the north. That meant some homes and businesses would have to make big changes to their street address.

Veterinarian Susanne Heartsill was worried what it could mean for her business.

"We have an awning that has the physical address on the awning that costs about $5,000," she said. "Not just that — all the marketing material. Just the good will of being on that corner for 12 years."

The Board listened and opted to limit the north extension to Jackson Avenue  instead of all the way to Chelsea Avenue, leaving out a few blocks of homes that now won't have to change their address.

"I won't have to change anything, so this is a good thing," Hartsell said.

Other businesses, such as the post office on Third Street, may have to roll out new stationary and signs.

B.B. King Boulevard will also roll right through Beale Street, where the king of blues got his early start.

"I thinks it's an excellent idea," Beale Street tourist Jennifer Jackson said. "Blues. When you think of Memphis, you think of Blues, and if it's not already a street named after him, it certainly should be. It's probably past due."

Those who oppose the name changes will have two weeks to appeal to the Land Use Control Board, but it doesn't expect any opposition. It said the next step is to contact MLGW, and in a matter of weeks you could see Third Street signs come down and B.B. King Boulevard go up.


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