Update: With only two council members in support, an amendment to name the alleyway “Diagon Alley” failed to pass Tuesday night. The group eventually decided on “Shipley Alley.”
The Fayetteville City Council is set tonight to continue discussion of naming a three-block alley that runs from Dickson Street to Center Street.
According to city officials, the alley needs a name for 911 reasons. Don Marr, Mayor Lioneld Jordan’s chief of staff, said there have been a few instances where emergency crews have had trouble finding houses which face the alley, but have addresses on the surrounding streets.
The item first appeared on a recent council consent agenda and was set to be approved as Midtown Alley, a name suggested by a city committee and area property owners.
When word spread of the possible new name, a Facebook page was created to drum up support for the name Diagon Alley, a fictional street from the Harry Potter books.
With support from Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty, the group’s cause was heard by the council on Dec. 6.
“I thought it was really fun and whimsical and a little bit silly,” said Petty. “It really kind of emphasized what I like about Fayetteville.”
Bobby Ferrell, Ward 3 alderman, suggested a more historical approach and offered up the name “Shipley Alley” in reference to Shipley Bread Co., a longtime Dickson Street business which operated at the corner of the alley where Farrell’s Bar & Lounge is now.
“If you’re thinking of response to emergency services, I think if people heard that, they’d know where it is,” said Ferrell.
Petty said he didn’t necessarily have a problem with something other than Diagon Alley.
“I think that’s a fine idea, but I want to do what the people want on this,” he said to Ferrell, noting that the Facebook page had 175 Likes on Dec. 6 (support on the page has since grown to 386 Likes).
“For me, this is about putting the public back into public policy,” said Petty.
John Goddard, the city’s geographic information system coordinator, said possible names must first be approved by a committee of police and fire officials to make sure they’re not duplicates of existing streets.
According to Don Marr, the names Diagon Alley, Midtown Alley, Shipley Alley and a new name – Bakery Alley – are approved for use and will be considered at Tuesday (Dec. 20) night’s council meeting.