The Vidalia Board of Aldermen on a 3-2 vote Tuesday night approved a resolution changing the name of the street leading to the Vidalia Denim plant once occupied by Fruit of the Loom.
The street has been renamed 1 King Timahoe Drive, replacing the name of 1 Fruit of the Loom Drive.
Concordia Parish Communications District E-911 approved the name change earlier Tuesday, according to Concordia Economic Development Executive Director Heather Malone.
Aldermen had technically already agreed to the renaming – it was part of the cooperative agreement with Vidalia Denim that aldermen previously approved.
But the new street name drew criticism from two aldermen – Robert Gardner and Sabrina Dore’ -- who said they had fielded citizen complaints over the name change.
King Timahoe, an Irish setter, was President Richard Nixon’s dog. Nixon resigned from office in 1974 before Congress advanced articles of impeachment.
Dore’ said she has heard from veterans and others who oppose name change, saying it was “an insult to the face of the veterans of Concordia Parish.”
Mayor Buz Craft said he had received no complaints over the matter.
“I’ve gotten zero calls,” he said.
Aldermen Jon Betts said the board had approved the cooperative agreement and had to stand by that decision.
“Are we people of our word?” he asked. “I vote yes because I voted for the cooperative agreement.”
Alderman Tron McCoy said he personally had no problem with the name change and offered the motion for approval. Betts seconded the motion.
On the vote, Tommy Probst joined McCoy and Betts in support, while Gardner and Dore’ voted against.
Probst suggested that the town might consider talking to Vidalia Denim about a different name for the street.
Vidalia Denim official Derrick Means said production is expected to begin at the facility by August. He said the company has met with vendors and that equipment and containers are arriving.
The company will purchase raw cotton, which it will then spin, dye and weave into the denim fabric. That material will be shipped to other manufacturers that produce labeled blue jeans.
In other action, Town Accountant Debra Moak said the town is “in sound financial position,” and is “maintaining cash flow.”
Police Chief Joey Merrill reported that the Vidalia Police Department for the month of March had 814 dispatch calls, made 42 arrests and issued 190 citations.