Melbourne city council inches closer to renaming street after Martin Luther Kind Jr.

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The move to rename a Melbourne street after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inched closer to reality Tuesday night after the city council voted 6 to 1 to select Airport Boulevard as the primary contender for the change.

The city council also voted to consider naming the new, $35 million headquarters for the Melbourne Police Department after the slain civil rights leader. Melbourne Mayor Kathleen H. Meehan cast the sole vote against the measure. She could not be reached for comment.

City officials will now prepare the first of two ordinances for passage while sending out notices to all property owners and businesses lining Airport Boulevard.  Airport is a north-south corridor that stretches past Orlando Melbourne International Airport, the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place hotel, on up to New Haven Avenue.

More: Five fascinating connections Martin Luther King Jr. had to Florida and the Space Coast

More: Melbourne councilman wants to name city street for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The ordinance would need two readings to pass. A first reading before the city council will take place June 11, city officials say. 

Melbourne City Councilman Tim Thomas resurrected the longstanding issue of renaming a city street after King.

The issue, however, had been met with controversy and resistance over the last three decades since it was initially introduced with controversy. In 2005, a select committee named several roads for consideration of renaming for King. Airport Boulevard was one of the streets.

“With (Tuesday’s) motion we made a huge step. But obviously, it’s not over yet,” Thomas said.

Contact Gallop at 321-242-3642, jdgallop@floridatoday.com and Twitter @JDGallop

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