By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE - The Melbourne City Council recently approved the renaming of a portion of Randolph Street to "Pelham" Street.
The new name for the portion of the street, located between Fairview Drive and Florida Avenue, comes from Melbourne resident Sandra Pelham, known for her community activism and involvement with National Night Out.
"It's a great honor; I actually grew up on Randolph Street," Ms. Pelham said. "My grandmother and grandfather migrated to Randolph Street, and 14 children from my family stayed on this street. It's home to me."
Over 50 years ago, Ms. Pelham's mother ran the only grocery store on Randolph Street, adding to her rich history with the street.
The other part of the street, located in Palm Bay, has yet to be renamed and is awaiting approval from the City Council.
Robert Johnson, the president of the local NAACP, initiated the request for the renaming in honor of Ms. Pelham's community efforts and her history of volunteerism, and he also named her the "NAACP Person of the Year."
"(Ms. Pelham) inspires other folks to do good things from their hearts," Mr. Johnson said. "She leads by example. The street name should have been changed earlier, but this is the right time. I thank the City Council, the mayor and the city engineers for making a great decision."
At the council meeting on Aug. 28, Myrue Spivey, pastor and teacher at Grace Bible Sanctuary in Palm Bay, showed his support for Ms. Pelham during public comment.
"I've worked with Ms. Pelham, and I've spoken with some of the young people she has worked with," Mr. Spivey said. "If we change the name of this street, Ms. Pelham and my generation may move on, but that name will be there and be able to influence others."
Mr. Spivey said he admires Ms. Pelham's commitment to her community, as well as others who volunteer their time to help.
"I tip my hat to them. My time doesn't allow me to invest into the community the way I long to," he said. "I think it would be a noble and honorable thing for the city to recognize (Ms. Pelham)."
Jenni Lamb, Melbourne city engineer, said Randolph Street holds no historical significance, and her team notified the property owners within the time frame specified. Sixty percent of residents agreed with the name change.
Despite the name change and the accolade, Ms. Pelham said she remains humble.
"I would like to thank everyone who voted (for the name change)," she said. "Hopefully, we will be seeing the street sign after Palm Bay approves its side."