As part of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt, which includes challenges like eating a foot-long s’more “lady and the tramp style,” a group of Colorado Springs residents is out to change the name of Trump Avenue.
One of the many challenges in the scavenger hunt, known as GISH, drew their attention to Trump Avenue, a short street with just 10 houses on it that runs from East Bijou Street to Balfour Avenue.
The challenge requires them to change a street named after a “well known racist or war criminal or that is derogatory in some way,” said Nina Ellis Frischmann, a member of the GISH team who has started a change.org petition to rename Trump Avenue as Immigrant Avenue.
The petition accuses President Donald Trump, for whom the street is not named, of being a racist for his slurs against minorities and and a war criminal for his treatment of immigrants on the southern border.
The street has been named Trump Avenue since at least the late 1950s and has no connection to the president or his family, said Kim Melchor, Colorado Springs spokeswoman.
Frischmann initially hoped to get 100 signatures, but as of Thursday night they had nearly 600 and were shooting for 1,000.
Although the petition started with the scavenger hunt, Frischmann said the group plans to submit it to the city and request that Trump Avenue be renamed.
Colorado Springs spokeswoman Jamie Fabos said in an email that the petition won’t trigger a name change. Instead, residents need to submit an application to the city’s Planning and Development Office, which oversees the requests.
“Street name change petition [sic] are reviewed by the City Planning Commission to determine if the new name meets established criteria including public safety requirements, impact to the timely delivery of goods and services, and any potential adverse effects on local residents,” Fabos said.
The city has not received a formal request to change the name of Trump Avenue, she said.
The petition, and the reasons behind it, don’t sit well with some Trump supporters in Colorado Springs, including the former chairman of the El Paso Republican Party, Joshua Hosler.
“If we are too sensitive to have a name that’s not even directly related to someone that some people don’t like, then this isn’t the United States,” he said. “This is something you find in Russia or Venezuela or some tyrannical government.”
An unscientific survey Thursday night of a few Trump Avenue residents found more were opposed to the name change than were for it. Three of the four residents The Gazette spoke to said Trump Avenue should remain. And they were especially opposed to the new name, Immigrant Avenue.
“I hate the change,” said Doug Rand, who’s lived on the street since September 2016, two months before Trump won the presidency. “I don’t respect immigrants, and I love Donald Trump.”
Longtime resident Kitty Muller signed the petition after hearing about it Thursday.
Muller said she had never been bothered by the name until the 2016 election. Since then, the name has become a topic of conversation for her and others, she said. She said she had joked about trying to change it before, and was excited that it now appeared to be a possibility.
“I get embarrassed every time somebody asks me where I live,” she said.