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Public Hearing on Dayton Street Renaming in Honor of R&B Group Troop Delayed Amid Opposition

Published on Monday, May 13, 2024 | 5:07 am

A public hearing to change the name of a street to honor a local R&B group has been delayed.

Last month the City Council considered naming a portion of Dayton Street to Troop Way in honor of the rhythm and blues group Troop. Councilmember Justin Jones asked that the item be held over so that more outreach could be conducted.

The public hearing was rescheduled for May 20, but now has been delayed.

The plan faced opposition from the Castle Green Homeowners Association, among others, which argued that Dayton Street’s historic significance should be preserved.

Troop, originally named “Five of A Kind,” was formed in Pasadena in 1984.

The group, whose members include Rodney Benford, Reggie Warren, Jan Jan Harreld, Steve Russell, and Allen McNeil, has strong ties to the city. Throughout their formative years, they practiced and performed at various venues across Pasadena.

The Castle Green Homeowners Association emphasized the importance of Dayton Street as part of the historic landmark block that includes Castle Green and Hotel Green, as well as its inclusion in the historic Old Pasadena landmark area in a letter addressed to the City Council.

Dayton Street has been home to Pasadena’s first firehouse, first library, and many other historically significant venues over the years, noted the Castle Green Homeowners Association.

The Castle Green Homeowners Association suggested that the City consider alternative ways to honor Troop, such as installing a plaque referencing the part of Pasadena where the group members were born, lived, or created their work.

The HOA also highlighted the City’s Public Monument Policy, which states that such citywide honors should be bestowed posthumously and only after a thorough review of their significance.

“The Castle Green’s constituency has no issue with honoring Troop or anyone else, but the standard to change a street name, particularly one as historic as Dayton, should be very high,” the Homeowners Association wrote in their letter.

The City Council will weigh the concerns raised by the Castle Green Homeowners Association and the significance of honoring Troop’s contributions to the music world and Pasadena’s cultural heritage during the April 15 meeting. The Council will also consider an alternative proposal to rename a portion of Morton Avenue between Hammond Street and Mountain Street to Troop Way, as the group practiced at the nearby Robinson Park Recreation Center for over 30 years.

However, the City rarely renames streets to honor local residents for commemorative purposes.

In recent years, the City unveiled plaques honoring Eddie Van Halen and former President Barack Obama for the time they lived in Pasadena. There is also a plaque honoring Jackie Robinson on the block he lived on when he lived in Pasadena with his family. The house where Robinson lived was torn down in the 70s. Currently there is talk of fixing that plaque and raising it higher so it can be found easier.

Other events still have not been honored by the City.

Although Martin Luther King Jr. twice spoke at Friendship Baptist Church, also located on Dayton Street, there is no plaque commemorating King’s visit to the church.

Decades ago, street names were changed to honor the late Chief Executive Officer of Parsons, who died in a plane crash while on a mission with the United States Chamber of Commerce to the Balkans, and renaming a portion of Ramona after the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The La Loma Bridge was also renamed in honor of longtime Pasadena resident and former California State Attorney General John Van de Kamp after his death.

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