During the initial public comment period at the Village Council meeting last night, Kelli Stapleton, Elberta resident and planning and zoning committee member, presented a proposal to change Elberta’s name to Heaven. Among Stapleton’s stated goals was the preservation of our local post office (no plans to close the office are known at this time), an increase in the Village’s revenues, and general psychological uplift. The proposal produced little reaction, and no discussion ensued. Here is the full text of Stapleton’s proposal, distributed on a handout during the meeting:
In consideration of changing the name of Elberta to Heaven:
1. The post office will have more mail coming through for the “stamp of heaven”
2. Sell plots of one inch land for $25 to own a piece of heaven
3. Be the “mayor” for the day [for] $500
4. Add gateways for photo opportunities for tourists—pearly gates
5. Highway 16Eat … free food [edible perennial plants and shrubs would be planted along 168 for the use of residents]
6. Pathway from the Village to the bay called “Heavens to Betsie”
7. Village workers distribute pennies on the sidewalk and trail (pennies from heaven)
8. Sell [Heaven-related] merchandise out of the village office
9. Attract business
10. Attract families
11. Begin—The promise of Heaven scholarship fund for village children-remember the library? [Stapleton referenced the loss of the local Elberta library to the consolidation with Frankfort. The Promise of Heaven scholarship would guarantee Village children funding for the public or private college of their choice. The revenue would come from the revenue-generating programs associated with the new name.]
12. Begin—Heaven can wait-retirement home [On a similar note, elderly residents would have access to a state-of-the-art retirement and care facility. "The kind of place where people are checking their watches to see if they can get into yet," Stapleton said.]
13. All dogs go to heaven dog run/park
14. Encourage: engagement made in heaven. A marriage made in heaven. [Stapleton proposed a wedding chapel. Currently weddings held at the Lifesaving Station and on the beach are reportedly the largest single source of income for the Village.]
15. Restaurants have fun menu options (the last supper)
*how it can change our village:
Will bring in $ starting NOW.
We can stop being the ugly step-sister to Frankfort
We can rise above the petty behavior and grudge holding
We will have $ to pay for consulting to have projects done once and properly
We can REALLY make this place heavenly. It’s not a gimic. Everyone has to be NICE.
*Really, why is it called Elberta anyway?!:
The name Elberta is hard to say because it starts with a vowel and has an L in the first syllable.
It is constantly getting confused with Alberta Canada. [Noticeable agreement from those in attendance at the meeting.]
I’ve never seen one Elberta peach
This village is more heavenly than peachy
The name Elberta hasn’t done much for the village in the last hundred years.
And while we’re at it. Change Crapo St. to: Don’t drink and Dr.
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” Henry David Thoreau [This quote appears at the bottom of the flier and on the Facebook note Stapleton posted today.]
Stapleton will be presenting her proposal again at the public forum meeting on the Master Plan scheduled for this coming Monday, February 21, at 6 PM at the Lifesaving Station.
If adopted, this would be the second name change to the town in 100 years. According to Blacklock’s History of Elberta, the village, originally called South Frankfort, changed its name to Elberta in May of 1911. “Elberta” beat out “Greenwood,” “LakeView,” “Terminus,” “Ferryland,” and “Boatlanding.” At the time, local Elberta peaches were in high demand, and Mrs. Morgan Fox won $5 and a camera for her winning entry. Ψ