What’s in a name? A lot, say Silt locals
SILT – Don’t change the name.That’s the overwhelming reaction town officials are getting to a proposal to change the name of the town of Silt to something else.”There’s a lot of negative outcry against it,” said town administrator Rick Aluise. “I’d say it’s 10-1 against the name change, at least.”Aluise said Town Hall has been inundated with calls regarding the name change – and not just from town residents.”They’re even calling from outside of town from Rifle and New Castle and around the county expressing outrage,” Aluise said.And that’s not including the media coverage from newspapers, radio stations and TV from Denver to Grand Junction, and even USA Today.The subject was brought up at the town’s last board meeting on April 24 by Trustee Doug Williams. Williams said he’d heard from constituents who didn’t like the town’s name and the reference to “dirt”.The Post Independent has received several messages and letters from citizens around the county, mostly against a name change.
“The residents of Silt should be proud of their name,” wrote Sue Gray, of Carbondale. “What’s wrong with dirt? Where would we be without it?”Mayor Dave Moore said he wasn’t personally for or against the name change.”If the name was to change or wasn’t to change, I don’t have a strong opinion about it,” Moore said. “I can see both sides of the story.”Most of those who want to change the name of the town are residents who are relatively new to the town of Silt, according to Moore.”And most of those who are saying they disagree (with a proposed change) have lived here for a long time,” Moore said.He said that if he were to take a thumbnail poll, most of the people in favor of the change were 35 and younger and most of those against it were 50 years and older. The remainder between ages 35 and 50 were pretty well split.Moore also stressed that it wasn’t up to the Town Board to implement the change.”Some people have felt the board was going to change the name, but in reality it’s the people that do it,” Moore said. “The board, mayor and town staff are basically facilitators for this. But it has to be done through a grassroots effort by the people.”To change the town’s name, at least 50 percent of those who voted in the last election for mayor must sign a petition to change the name.
RepercussionsShould the town of Silt change its name, it could have some financial repercussions for Town Hall, local businesses and residents.”We would have to change the town logos, stationary and stamp – anything with the official town imprint,” Aluise said. “We’d also have to change our Web site and Web address. There are all sorts of things that would have to be changed, but how much it would cost us, we don’t know.”Businesses with “Silt” in their name might also find it necessary to make changes.”There might be some expense there,” Moore acknowledged.Silt resident Mary Rose, who has lived in the town since 1993, is one of those outraged about the proposed name change and the costs that would be incurred.”What about the costs? What about the changes to highway signs, town signs, maps and private businesses? What about people’s checks and address labels?” she said. “I’d like to see some pot holes fixed and some roads paved. I’m mad as heck. I’m livid that a couple of people moved to Silt and didn’t like the name. Why did they move here in the first place?” The Silt Area Chamber of Commerce is also concerned about the potential costs – not only to the town, but to local businesses and residents.
“When the chamber board discussed it, that was brought up,” said chamber president and Town Board member Meredith Robinson. “Although we do see the possible need to change an image, we’re not sure a name change does it.”And at the expense of town residents and business owners.”This will be a cost to everyone within the Silt zip code,” Robinson said. “Our major concern is the financial impacts it could have, not only on the town, but all businesses and residents within the zip code. That could be a problem.”If the town’s name changed, the Silt Post Office would most likely change its name as well, but mail would still be delivered, even if addressed to Silt.”The zip code wouldn’t change,” said Postmaster Howard Orona. “And as long as there is the right zip code, it wouldn’t really be a problem.”Suggested name changes so far have been “Ferguson,” “Ferguson’s Crossing,” “Cactus Valley,” “Grand View” and “Grand River.” “But before we even consider what a name would be, we need to look at how it would impact us,” Robinson said.This is the second time in 14 years the subject of changing the town’s name has come up. The last time was in 1992, which also proved to be controversial among town residents.The proposed name change is on the agenda as a discussion item for the Monday regular Town Board meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Silt Town Hall, 231 N. Seventh St. No action is expected to be taken.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.