Several business owners have asked the City of Hillsdale to rename Uran Street in the city’s industrial park, citing a common mispronunciation as their cause of discontent.
“We don’t really know where the name Uran came from,” said Hillsdale Terminal Vice President of Engineering John Condon. “But we do know that we don’t like a lot of people mispronouncing it ‘urine.’”
Uran Street’s name originates from Denver Uran, a farmer who lived on Hallet Road in the first half of the 20th century. The name is pronounced “U-ran.”
Condon said he wanted the city to rename the street to something more upbeat, perhaps relating the street to the businesses in the industrial park. He mentioned this desire to City Councilman Matt Bell, who brought up the issue at a April 4 meeting.
“Given the status of his community leadership, we could talk about it and come up with some options,” Bell said of Condon’s request.
Bell added that changing the street’s name might be good for the face of the city’s business image.
“It opens up a little can of worms, but let’s not let a little work scare us away from our improving our industrial park, so that when people come in it, they’ll kinda know what we’re about,” he said.
City Councilman Bruce Sharp disagreed, saying that since the city does not how much changing a street name could cost, it would be unwise to take on a project like this when there are pressing issues for the city, like the state of many of the roads. Sharp also said that changing the street name could cause even more confusion among local residents.
“I know where Uran Street is,” he said. “Many of the guys in the fire department know where Uran Street is. You start changing the names and people are going to be asking, ‘Where’s that street again?’”
Sharp also said discontent over street names is not a city issue, and that if business owners have a problem with so small a street like Uran, they should attempt to solve the problem themselves.
“It’s just a name — just like that little thing we had in Jonesville over the ice cream place,” he said.
Mayor Adam Stockford said that Condon was not the only business owner on Uran Street annoyed with the street’s name. According to Stockford, several other business owners had complained to him about the name because people frequently mispronounce it “urine.”
“We don’t want to use a lot of city resources on something like this, but if this was something that was initiated by the business owners, then that’s something different,” he said.