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Lawsuit challenging Austin’s move to rename Manchaca Road heads to trial

Friday, December 14, 2018 by Andrew Weber, KUT

A lawsuit challenging the city of Austin’s decision to rename Manchaca Road will go to trial.

The suit, brought by the group Leave Manchaca Alone, alleges the city didn’t properly inform residents and businesses ahead of a City Council vote to change the spelling of the street’s name to Menchaca. The suit also argues changing the name would be burdensome for businesses along the eight-mile South Austin road.

Judge Dustin M. Howell ruled today that the plaintiffs have enough evidence to go to trial and granted a temporary injunction stopping the city from changing street signs while the case is being heard. A date for the trial has yet to be set.

In his ruling, Howell said that the city did a serviceable job of mailing out notice to some of the plaintiffs, but found business owners didn’t receive adequate notice before the vote.

“We would’ve been happy with even one of (the plaintiffs) being able to proceed with a lawsuit,” Roger Borgelt, an attorney for Leave Manchaca Alone, said. “So we’re happy.”

Council Member Pio Renteria sponsored the ordinance, which passed in October. He and other proponents have argued that Manchaca represents a historical misspelling of the name of José Antonio Menchaca, a captain in the Texas Army who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. Menchaca frequented the area near Manchaca Springs, and proponents say it was named for him.

Opponents of the name change argue there’s no historical proof Menchaca spent time in the area and it’s more likely that the name Manchaca derives from a Choctaw word.

Read the ruling below.

Download (PDF, 96KB)

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT.

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