Committee considers name change for Orchard View street

Ordinance would change name of Sentry Street to Ashcraft Lane.

The Harrison Township Committee introduced a new ordinance at its April 1 meeting that would change the name of the Orchard View development’s Sentry Street to Ashcraft Lane.

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The street is proposed to connect the Orchard View community to Main Street. The new name honors the Ashcraft family of doctors in the Mullica Hill area. Ashcraft is derived from a type of peach.

“This is brought to us from the historical society,” Mayor Louis Manzo explained of the change. “The Ashcraft family has a deep history in town as doctors. We obviously like to honor people who are significant to the history of the town.”

Orchard View developer Bob Myers agreed to the name change. But before the ordinance vote took place at the meeting, Committeeman Kevin French asked if there are any criteria to naming streets and other local landmarks. Manzo replied that none in the township is that specific.

“The future of this township isn’t going to be based on a lot of doctors residing in this town and probably generational as well,” French argued. “I don’t know if that profession has greater weight (in Harrison Township) over other professions such as farmers, teachers, engineers, police officers and so on and so forth.

“I struggle with this one (ordinance) because, while commendable, it feels a little haphazard since we don’t have governing rules around how we memorialize individuals in this town.”

Committeewoman Michelle Powell agreed with French.

“It certainly can open a can of worms, and we really should have something to base it on in the event that somebody comes up with something,” she offered. “I’m not saying for this particular one, but for some of the other things we talked about with advertising things in town.”

Manzo suggested the committee come up with a criteria for the future. The naming issue is nothing new in the community; it goes back to the township’s formation in 1844, he explained.

Harrison Township is named after William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, who died just 31 days after his inauguration in 1841. While the name has national significance, it does not have much locally: Harrison was from Virginia and it isn’t likely he was ever in the Mullica Hill area.

In the end, a majority of the committee voted to introduce the stree name change ordinance. It will be voted on at the next meeting, at 7 p.m. on Monday, so the committee can look further into the idea.

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