La PORTE — The La Porte City Council could be renaming a city street to make it a little “happier” to drive on.
American Licorice Co. has petitioned to change the name of Whirlpool Drive, the street on which the company is located, to “Happiness Way.” The change would better reflect the company’s philosophy, which is all about “creating happy consumer experiences,” it said in the petition.
The company has been producing candies, such as Red Vines and Sour Punch Straws, locally since 1914.
“I can’t think of a nicer company that has done more for the city of La Porte,” councilman Miles Fettinger said. “I would fully support changing the name of this one street for them.”
The ordinance renaming Whirlpool Drive to Happiness Way has already been approved by the Traffic Commission, and was read for the first time at a recent council meeting at City Hall.
But Happiness Way has met with some opposition.
Councilman Timothy Stabosz voted against the name change during the Traffic Commission meeting, and told the council he was the only no vote.
“I have mixed feelings,” Stabosz said. “I’m not sure how I’m going to vote for this.”
He explained his apprehension had to do with the street having already been renamed twice in the past.
“I do have concerns about the nature of changing the street name from Boston, to Larson, to Whirlpool...”
“It’s a La Porte tradition!,” Fettinger jokingly interjected. “Every street has three names.”
Stabosz continued, “we have a couple weeks for the public to come and voice their opinions on [the name change].”
As of now, the company is the only tenant on Whirlpool Drive. It does, however, have neighbors close by in New York Blower. Before starting the legal steps to pursue the name change, the team at American Licorice approached New York Blower, which expressed no opposition and was supportive of the idea.
Mayor Mark Krentz invited Bert Cook, executive director of the Greater La Porte Economic Enhancement Partnership, to speak on behalf of American Licorice. Cook has worked closely with the company and is well versed on its involvement in the community, the mayor said.
“The traffic commission asked us to talk to any and all businesses that would be impacted by this, which included New York Blower, as well as Space Center – the owner of the former Whirlpool facility,” Cook said. “Both mentioned that, while it does cost their companies a little bit of money to make an address change, they are fully supportive of it.
“At this point in our history, Whirlpool Drive doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore. American Licorice is – by my guess – the best corporate citizen that we have. This is something that they are asking of our community that costs us nothing. I think it’s a good gesture of our support of their company.”
The council did not vote on whether or not to pass the ordinance, but will likely take up the matter again later in the month.