First It Was Celebrated, Then It Was Scorned. Kyle City Council Drops 'Fajita Drive' Road Name.
Kyle City Council voted Tuesday to scrap plans to rename a 2-mile stretch of road that lies west of I-35 "Fajita Drive."
The name was meant to replace the road’s original name, Rebel Drive, as the city reexamines the memorialization of racist symbols. Fajita Drive was chosen as the new name last week to honor the late Juan Antonio “Sonny” Falcón, who was credited with introducing the first fajita in Kyle during the 1960s.
But Kyle residents said the city had missed the mark. While some residents poked fun, others pointed to a deeper issue in which they felt the city failed to include residents in the decision-making process.
Many residents also wanted Mayor Travis Mitchell to address a text exchange between him, Mayor Pro Tem Rick Koch and local attorney Chevo Postrano, that was posted publicly on Facebook. In the exchange, Mitchell joked about the backlash and said: “Let’s keep rebel. Good vibes. F--- change. Rebel Pride Never Dies!”
“I regret several of the decisions that I made,” Mitchell said at the opening of Tuesday’s meeting. “[I] have apologized to many people. In particular for some of the language I used in some text messages that widely spread. Some of the language that was put into those messages was insensitive and designed to be scintillating when there was no reason for me to engage in that manner.”
The city had also ordered and spent $750 on Fajita Drive signs before holding a public hearing on the matter. Mitchell said the signs were already on order when council members unanimously voted to approve the name change last week. He also said the signs had arrived, and that the city was looking for ways to get their money back.
“I think that hopefully there's a way to make some lemonade out of lemons,” Mitchell said. “I want to apologize to the residents of Kyle for getting out ahead of my skis. I want to apologize to the residents of Kyle for being disrespectful and flippant in a text exchange when I knew better.”
Council members are working on forming a committee tasked with recommending a new street name. Members also voted to set aside $5,346 as a grant fund for residents and business owners who would have had to front the costs associated with an address change.
While council members agreed on rescinding Fajita Drive as the road’s name, the move would have reverted the road back to its original name, Rebel Drive. In a largely bureaucratic maneuver, the City Council also rescinded the name Rebel Drive, and agreed to use the road’s state-designated name: West Ranch to Market Road 150.
But in order to help business owners, the city is delaying the implementation of a road-name change until the committee forms and comes up with an alternative.
The City Council could approve the committee at the next meeting on Sept. 1.
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