What do you do when a major road project is going to affect your business?
If you are a legacy car dealer in Clearwater along US 19 you get the name of the 546 foot intersecting road changed to in effect advertise your business.
City leaders vote on renaming 1st Avenue North to “Dimmitt Drive” reflecting the expansive car dealerships that abut US 19 at their meeting Thursday.
“Due to a limited number of exits, existing and potential new customers of the Dimmitt dealerships will have to know to exit US 19 much further south out of sight of the dealerships,” according to a letter from Timothy Powell, representing Dimmitt.
For years now work to widen the road has caused headaches for drivers. The latest project is expected to smooth the north-south ride through Pinellas as the road is expanded and converted to a limited access highway.
The construction has also caused headaches. City officials hope to help existing businesses and lure new ones through developing a future use plan for the corridor. A meeting presenting the preliminary plan is Tuesday.
The road work is expected to put exits and on ramps and various intersections along the road. Customers to the car dealer would have to know well in advance to get off on the right exit and use a service road.
“Lacking prior knowledge of the dealerships location and the means of access, bu the time the customers see the Dimmitt dealerships they will not be able to exit US 19 until they are well beyond the dealerships,” according to Powell’s letter. Making customers execute a series of turns to get back to the dealer, Powell wrote.
The letter continues:
“Without the requested street name change, the above mentioned resulting access alternatives are viewed as making it extremely difficult for the Dimmitts to market to their potential customers.”
Powell wrote that Dimmitt asked to have the dealership added to Interstate signs used for other businesses. The state Department of Transportation said no.
As part of the name change request, the dealership is expected to pay $200 as a filing fee, according to Powell’s letter.
The car dealer is the only address on the street, according to a letter to the city. Pinellas County and the local Postmaster of the United States Postal Service don’t object, according to the city. And representatives of all city departments potentially affected by the name change have no objection, according to city documents.
*updated 10 a.m. Aug. 20, 2012