City Council wants to remember Curly Emmons somehow while granting name change
Emmons Park Drive, like the man it was named after, is now a part of Taft's history.
The Taft City Council unanimously approved a request from Taft College to rename the street "Cougar Court" in honor of the college's mascot.
However, the man the street was named after won't be forgotten.
Elias C. "Curly" Emmons served as a city councilman and mayor in the 1930s and died in 1957.
Councilman Orchel Krier and Mayor Paul Linder both said the city's history needs to be preserved.
"I'd hate to see that part of our history go away," said Krier. "Taft has such a rich history."
He said he had discussed the name change with several people , including TC Superintendent/President Dena Maloney.
"We've talked and we're being sensitive since it was named after a former mayor of Taft," Linder said. "We will find other ways to honor Mr. Emmons."
Linder said the Emmons Park Drive Street signs should be saved.
Emmons Park Drive used to connect Sixth Street to Taylor Street, splitting the TC campus, but nearly half of the road was abandoned and absorbed into the college campus.
The street that will soon be renamed Cougar Court now ends at the alley behind the Kern County Library.
The college requested the name change, and the two other entities on the street, Peace Lutheran Church and the Kern County Library, supported the college's request.
Maloney spoke to the council.
She said Cougar Court was selected after a campus-wide contest that had 50 submissions.
Maloney was joined in the audience by two college board members, staff, administrators and students, who all applauded when the council approved the name change.
The college will pay the cost of new signs.
Cougar Court will now intersect with Wildcat Way, which was Seventh Street until the city approved changing the name in honor of the 100th anniversary of Taft Union High School's founding.