Lovettsville is getting a new road name that reflects the town’s German heritage.
The portion of South Church Street between Hammond Drive and Berlin Turnpike is now Kirche Street—loosely pronounced keer-sha, meaning church in German.
“[It] seems like a perfect fit,” Mayor Bob Zoldos of the name change. “This happens on a regular basis and it happens because we’re trying to find a more efficient way to provide services.”
Town Engineer Karin Fellers said letters would be sent out to the eight addresses affected by the name change before it takes effect. “It’s not going to be an immediate thing,” she said.
The renaming process has been underway since 2015, when emergency responders and residents requested the change to resolve mail delivery problems and to clarify confusing addresses on South Church Street, specifically 2A-D. Emergency calls from these residences had responders often showing up at 2 S. Church St., which used to be the address of Andy’s Pizza & Subs located a block away.
The majority of residents on the street supported the change during a public input meeting last April.
“We’ve heard from our neighbors, we’ve heard from fire and rescue, we’ve heard from the police and it is the choice that was made at that meeting,” Zoldos said. “I think this fixes the problem for that street.”
One of the affected residents opposed to the name change asked council and town staff who would be responsible for covering costs like getting a new license, ordering new checks and changing addresses on mortgages, insurance policies and deeds.
The town has decided it will not reimburse residents, though, following a precedent set by other towns. “I’ve never experienced having to pay people for that,” said Town Manager Sam Finz.
Although the change is now official and recognized by the county, it will take a few months to have two new signs installed, which Finz said would cost about $130.
Lovettsville was founded by a group of German immigrants in 1732. That heritage is celebrated with the annual Oktoberfest that attracts about 10,000 people each September. Also, the Town Center commercial development and the nearby 7-Eleven store have been designed to look like a building found in a traditional German village.
In addition to Kirche Street, the town also plans to give a name to the 150-foot section of road that connects Town Center Drive with South Church Street at the southwestern edge of Town Square. Zoldos said this would be discussed in more detail at the next town council meeting on Jan. 25 and that it could be named Clock View Way.