Coon Hunt Court Residents Get Hearing for Name Change
Residents of the six-home street in Columbia may have their street name changed as soon as September.
Rosalie Consiglio moved with her family into their current home in Columbia 13 years ago. She remembers the real estate agent saying something about an offensive street name, but the deal on the house was too good to pass up.
Consiglio says she didn't know her street, Coon Hunt Court, contained a term used as a racial slur.
Now, after more than a decade of calling cable and utility companies, she said she realizes how offensive her street name can be.
"Every time I have to talk to a customer service person and they ask me for my address, I cringe because I don't want to say it," Consiglio said.
Soon, she may be relieved of the situation.
After a petition started passing around the street six months ago, the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning will meet on Sept. 6 for a public hearing on the proposed name change from Coon Hunt Court to April Wind Circle.
Gabe Phillips, 19, has lived on the street his whole life. He says his mother was a strong advocate for changing the name.
"I don't think anyone liked it, but it's one of those things where it's a huge hassle to get it changed," Phillips said.
Howard County Councilman Calvin Ball helped lead the petition, according to a press release from the county.
"The street name Coon Hunt Court is not only unsettling," said Ball, "but it also doesn’t represent our community and the society of diversity and acceptance we live in today."
The streets in Thunder Hill, where Coon Hunt Court is located, are part of a theme based on paintings by Andrew Wyeth–none of which contain the term "coon" in the title–according to the Howard County Times.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman also expressed his support for the residents.
"Residents should be able to live in a neighborhood they are proud of and one where they feel comfortable," said Ulman in the statement. "The offensive connotation of the street name Coon Hunt Court makes that impossible for its residents and does not appropriately represent our community."
But Consiglio said there may have been other motivations as well for changing the street name.
"The sign kept getting stolen and they don't want to replace the sign anymore," she said, "It's costing too much money to replace it, so it's easier and cheaper to change the street."
Zoning officials and the police department were contacted about vandalism and theft of the street sign, but they did not respond in time for publication of this article.