Following a proposal from Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan Zapata to rename West Kendall to “West End,” we asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Does West Kendall need rebranding? What would you name it? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
Looking back, those of us who “endured” (to be dramatic) growing up in what I liked to refer to as a “suburban wasteland” in high school actually developed a bit of our own culture and community here. West Kendall was not and is not devoid of “anything good” as I liked to say in high school or as people who live east of I-95 might think. There are many things about this area that need improvement and added efficiency. However, names have meaning. They can’t just be changed when one person gets it in their head to do it. Now that I’ve finally come around to appreciating where I grew up, it’s a little sad it might lose its name.
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Trina Sargalski, West Kendall
I don’t think residents want or need a name to have a feeling of belonging to a community. We want solutions to real problems we face, like traffic and over-building. Rebranding only pads his [Commissioner Juan Zapata] résumé, and does nothing for us. I don’t believe companies will be more drawn to this area because of a name change and I don’t think a library should change its name until its surrounding area has an official name change. It shouldn’t be based on a name the commissioner created himself. Name is of little importance to residents. Comfort, ease of commute, convenience, security and the like are what is important to most residents.
Jennifer Chambless, West Kendall
This is completely unnecessary and an utter waste of the county’s time and resources. There isn’t one compelling reason that makes sense. West Kendall is not a department store or a product logo. The county commission should focus on traffic congestion, crime and climate change — not rebranding West Kendall.
Donald Allen, Miami
Harold E. Kendall, descendant of Henry Kendall, along with William H. Krome, and their families were major influences in the agricultural growth of the area. I, for one, believe in the value of acknowledging the history of our city and the people who founded it. We don’t hear any rumbling about discarding the Brickell, Merrick or Peacock names. Maybe we should focus a bit on educating others, including our commissioners, of the history. I am not in favor of having the area I call home renamed to any “End.” A rose, by any other name, is still a rose.
If the commissioner is forward thinking, he might consider what will happen when the construction that continues expanding west turns his West End into Midwest End. Considering the congestion we are experiencing, I do not believe that there is a need for a change to attract residents to live there.
Winnie Smith, West Kendall
We need an identity like the one that South Miami, Coral Gables and others have gained and we haven’t. Getting a name is just a door, which is important, but what comes next is even more. The important is to agree on a name and do it. We will get used to a name, what we need to discuss is the steps after we get a name and work on an identity.
Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, Miami
When I woke up this morning, I felt as if I were at a dead end.
But I realized, I must get off my rear end.
Because I cannot truly comprehend,
That I now live in the West End.
Michael Rosenberg, West Kendall
Rebranding a community is such a frivolous proposal when considering the costs of rebranding versus the extreme needs of the community. West Kendall has serious needs, including traffic, parks, public transportation, sidewalk covered benches and more. If Congressman Zapata is concerned about his legacy, surely an expansion/extension of an East-West highway could carry his name. That would be a legacy to benefit his constituents.
Marta Hernandez, Kendall
I don’t have a problem with living in West Kendall. I would have a problem with living in West End. If the area is going to be renamed, let’s come up with something more inviting.
Anya Contreras, West Kendall
It will negatively impact businesses and individuals [to rename West Kendall]. The cost to businesses to change the name on their signage will ultimately be passed on to the consumers, as will the cost to government centers that will eventually be passed to taxpayers. I have lived in Kendall for 30 years and did not receive any notice of the meetings Juan Zapata stated were conducted on this issue. I suggest Mr. Zapata focus on projects that will benefit the residents of Kendall/West Kendall and not waste any time and money on boondoggles such as this.
Richard Szymanski, Miami
I would love the new name West End. It has a ring to it, kind of like a Broadway play, West End Story! But I doubt the expenses for tax payers are worth it in all honestly.
Jose M. Argibay, Miami
Although I agree that West Kendall is a nebulous undefined region containing areas far removed from Kendall Drive, I disagree with the reasoning to rebrand the area, and define its boundaries. Especially an area as vast as this one. I certainly hope they don’t move down the next path of municipal incorporation (which Zapata seems to be doing). I love unincorporated Dade: free parking, less taxes, and regulation that meets all the county’s citizens needs. Zapata alludes to the need to “market” the area. To whom is he marketing, and to what end? Is it wise to further development in these low-elevation areas which will be greatly impacted by sea level rise? I said no to the renaming, but if it must be renamed, given the region’s generally low elevation and sea level rise, maybe Atlantis would be a suitable name — although that could be said for most of South Florida.
Steve Woodmanse, Kendall
Having been born and raised in Kendall for 30 plus years, no, just no. Ridiculous. Maybe just make Kendall its own municipality but no need to try and give it a hipster name to try and make it something it’s not. It’s just a sprawling suburb, not a fashion district.
Nestor Teran, Asheville, NC
I think there are much better things for county staff to focus time and energy on than renaming a part of the unincorporated region of the county. How about working on improving traffic flow, reducing taxes and fees, creating more green spaces and better quality of life for residents?
Jed Shlackman, Miami
I don’t think West Kendall “needs” rebranding, but I also don’t believe it can hurt. There are many subdivisions within Kendall that have their own unique character. I can see why giving West Kendall it’s own identity could be a positive thing for community unity and pride.
Carlos Martin, Kendall
You’ll get plenty of responses from people complaining. When the commissioner asked several times for input, he got very little response. People need to be active in their community. That goes beyond complaining in the newspaper.
Curtis Lanoue, Kendall