Can't find your way around 22nd West lately? It might be because the westside Salt Lake street is going through honorary names faster than a downtown traffic light turns red to green.
City officials are responding to a petition from Unisys Corp. to name 22nd West, just yards east of Salt Lake International Airport, Unisys Way.Trouble is, the petition comes on the heels of a recent ceremony conducted by city officials naming the street McDonnell Douglas Way, in honor of manufacturer McDonnell Douglas.
The proposed name changes have led to a tentative solution - naming half the street after Unisys and the other half after McDonnell Douglas.
The street has lived a checkered past since Sperry Corp. petitioned the city to change the name of 22nd West to Sperry Way, according to city recorder's office records.
In 1987, after Sperry merged with Burroughs Corp. and became Unisys, Unisys petitioned the city to change Sperry Way back to 22nd West and the city obliged, city records said.
In June 1988, Councilwoman Florence Bittner asked the city "to welcome McDonnell Douglas Corp. to Salt Lake City" by renaming 22nd West again. In an early fall ceremony, Bittner unveiled a sign reading McDonnell Douglas Way.
But shortly after the ceremony, Unisys officials contacted the city, seeking to have the street name changed to Unisys Way. "It's just really getting things back on track," said Unisys' George Groneman.
Asked why the company didn't change street names after the 1987 merger, Groneman said, "(I) couldn't really give you a good reason why, other than it was just a delay - there were a lot of organizational things happening."
Bittner said she took some responsibility for the tangle of name changes. "I probably dropped the ball politically on that one, I didn't call Unisys and ask them," she said.
McDonnell Douglas Way is only an honorary name for 22nd West, the city said. But G.P. Entwistle, resources management director for Unisys, said in a Dec. 2 letter to the city that he wants the street "officially" named Unisys Way.
"However, if the situation with McDonnell Douglas cannot be resolved without causing embarrassment to the city, then Unisys would be amenable to a permanent name change from . . . North Temple to Seventh North," he added in the letter.
That scenario would leave 22nd West from Seventh North to 22nd North named McDonnell Douglas Way, a compromise to which officials were amenable.
"I think that our request would be for the entire 22nd West (to be renamed), but on the other hand, some sort of commitment was made to McDonnell Douglas and we're trying to give some consideration to that," Groneman said.
McDonnell Douglas officials would not comment on the record with regard to 22nd West.
"We've got two big corporations that are important to Salt Lake City, and we want to make both of them happy and give them the recognition they deserve," said Jill Remington, local business advocacy director.
"I don't think there's any ill will on anybody's part, it's just that both companies would like to use their names on the letterhead," Bittner said.