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Historian proposes to rename Sprague to Bing Crosby Way

A group of people are working to change the name of Sprague Avenue to Bing Crosby Way.
Historian proposes to rename Sprague to Bing Crosby Way

SPOKANE, Wash. - A group of people are working to change the name of Sprague Avenue to Bing Crosby Way.

Group members said the goal is to recognize and celebrate the famous musician whose career started in Spokane.

But some businesses between Browne's Addition and Division would have to make some changes to accommodate that.

Organizers have been gathering signatures from businesses for this petition.

While most businesses are on board, others raise questions about how much this could cost. They are worried about changing their addresses and signs.

Bill Stimson, a local historian and a professor at Eastern University helped launch this idea. He said Bing Crosby is an iconic musician who spent a lot of his time on this street. He thinks the Bing Crosby Theater is a local attraction, so renaming the street could help the theater district stand out even more.

His goal is to rename Sprague Avenue to Bing Crosby Way between Browne's Addition and Division.

"Up and down this street I can show you six or eight brand new restaurants within the last couple of years," said Stimson. "This is coming a nightlife district and it probably needs a little more pizzazz than Sprague Avenue."

Some businesses don't like the idea though. Dana Matthews, the owner of Studio One isn't a big Bing Crosby fan. He said changing the address would mean paying for new business cards and signs. Cards alone are probably around a hundred dollars.

"It's more of a hassle than a huge expense for us but it's one that we don't necessarily want to have to go through," said Matthews.

"I think it's a great idea, I think it honors Spokane's most famous citizen and favorite son," said Ron Wells, owner of Wells and Company Commercial Properties.

Wells owns several buildings along Sprague. He said honoring the musician is worth it. Though he said changing addresses on checks could cost several hundred dollars.

Organizers behind the petition know some businesses are concerned, but they are planning to fundraise money to pay for businesses to change their signs.

Right now a few businesses are against the idea but at least 20 shop owners are on board.

Stimson plans to collect more signatures before bringing this to the City. He hopes we are all calling Sprague Avenue "Bing Crosby Way" as early as next year.