WSMV recently ran a news story in regards to the new Murfressboro”Bridge over Broadway.”
“Right now, it’s called the Bridge Over Broad. Residents are saying Blue Raider Bridge has racial implications and they don’t want that representing their city.
Michelle Willard writes for the Murfreesboro Voice and wrote a column about the bridge at Broad Street and Memorial Blvd.
“It was a sore point when traffic was backing up and the were building it, so let’s lighten the mood a little bit and call it Bridgey McBridgeface and a reader started a petition,” Willard tells News4.
Article below from WKRN Larry Flowers
What’s known as the Bridge Over Broad in Murfreesboro could soon have a new name in honor of Middle Tennessee State University.
The Rutherford County Commission voted on a resolution last week to name the bridge, “Blue Raider Bridge.”
But some who oppose the change said the word raider has a connection to MTSU’s dark past.
When you drive through Murfreesboro and see the huge water tower you know you are in MTSU True Blue Country.
“It’s an opportunity to tie the town-gown relationship together with the city and university. You know, which is the second largest economic engine in all of Rutherford County,” said Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron. “It just highlights the university and this new bridge needs a name, and we think that Blue Raider Bridge is the appropriate name for that.”
Bridge Over Broad would become Blue Raider Bridge, complete with the MT logo, blue and white paint and MTSU flags.
“We’re looking at donors to help us to put blue LED lights on there, so when you drive across there at night, you’ll know that is the Blue Raider Bridge,” County Commissioner Pettus Read said. “It will be a gateway to the university. It’s something we think as people come from the interstate that they will be crossing that bridge and we wanted to give it a name people will remember and that’s why we came up with the Blue Raider name.”
MTSU is the second largest employer in Rutherford County, next to Nissan, and Read said what better way to recognize the university, which brings in more than 500,000 visitors a year, than with a bridge named in its honor.
“Blue Raider is the thing that we know our university for out there,” Read said.
“Our football teams, our basketball team, all the different sports and athletics. The fight song we have, it ends with, ‘Go Blue Raiders Go!’ It’s the thing we have known on that university since 1934.”
But before the name change was voted on at last Thursday’s commission meeting, Rutherford County resident Calief Snelling voiced his opposition.
“Those 50 to 100 elite fighters were known as Nathan’s Raiders,” Snelling said during public comment.
Snelling applauds MTSU for attempting to get Forrest’s name removed from the ROTC building, and doing away with a Confederate general mascot at sporting events.
“The word raider connotates Nathan Bedford Forrest that was doing a time when MTSU didn’t allow black students and black athletes and did support Nathan Bedford Forrest as an emblem and represented them as a university,” Snelling said.
Read said Blue Raiders is a play-off the Colgate Red Raiders at the suggestion of an MTSU football player who won a naming contest held by the Daily News Journal newspaper in 1934.
“Rather than be the Red Raiders, we’ll be the Blue Raiders because our colors are blue and white, and that’s the whole things it comes from, it has nothing to do with anything else,” Read said.
Read had also suggested True Blue Bridge and MTSU Bridge in a committee meeting, but Blue Raider Bridge received the nod.
Renaming the bridge is not a done deal. It still must get approval from the Tennessee State Legislature.
The county commission will meet with the Rutherford County Legislative Delegation in January to present the Blue Raider name change resolution.
Read expects the name change to be voted on during the upcoming legislative session.