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Illinois Avenue may change name

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Monopoly fans who vist Atlantic City to walk on the streets made famous by the board game soon will be unable to find Illinois Avenue and not everyone is happy about it.

City Council voted in May to change the name of Illinois Avenue, a popular red property in the Monopoly game, to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

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The vote came during a quiet public hearing attended by almost no one.

That council measure will become reality Monday when the street is officially dedicated and new street signs bearing the name of the slain civil rights leader are erected.

Parker Brothers, which publishes the Monopoly game, released a statement Wednesday saying it was 'surprised' to learn of the name change.

Both Parker Brothers and some historical buffs said they hoped the city would preserve Illinois Avenue in one way or another, possibly by renaming another street Illinois Avenue or by having Martin Luther King Boulevard bear both names.

But Councilman Gene Dorn, who co-sponsored the measure, said that would not happen.

Dorn said Illinois Avenue was chosen 'because it is a major thoroughfare through the city and is a respectable and decent street, and I live on the street and I love having my street named Martin Luther King Boulevard.'

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Dorn also suggested that if Parker Brothers had a problem with changing the name, the company should change the name of Illinois Avenue on its game board.

The last time the city tried to meddle with the Monoply streets was in 1973 when the City Commission considered renaming Baltic and Mediterranean avenues and faced the wrath of hundreds of Monopoly fans at a public meeting.

That proposal was unanimously rejected.

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