After more than a year of study, thousands of dollars spent and countless hours of community meetings, residents of the lakeside Minneapolis neighborhood widely known as ECCO have voted to rename the neighborhood … ECCO.
Before, ECCO was an acronym for East Calhoun Community Organization. Now the name does not stand for anything.
“It’s just kind of how it came out,” Dane Stimart, the president of ECCO, said Friday. “We did this very detailed process, we followed it and this is where we came.”
The neighborhood association unveiled the new name in a report released Thursday. ECCO received 264 votes in the renaming competition. The runner-up, East Bde Maka Ska, received 238 votes.
Eager to distance itself from slavery apologist John C. Calhoun, Minneapolis has scrubbed the name from streets, businesses and neighborhood groups. The former Calhoun Area Residents’ Action Group (CARAG) is now South Uptown.
ECCO’s renaming process began in 2018, months after the state renamed Lake Calhoun with its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska. That change is tied up in court.
The neighborhood association spent $5,617 and hundreds of collective hours to get to ECCO, according to the report. It created a naming committee, held several public meetings and three rounds of voting.
Neighbors came up with all sorts of names, some of them unprintable. There was North Lakewood (NOLA), South of Lake Street (SOLS), Southwest Uptown (SWUP), West Hennepin, East Lake (WHEL), South West of Lake St (SWOL) and West of Hennepin South of Lake (WOHSOL).
“Like painting a room, the prep time is ultimately what your outcome is going to be,” Stimart said. “If we force something down on a group that has diverse opinions … it’s going to be divisive and it’s not what we want to do.”
The city now needs to make the name change official. The neighborhood association has to design a new logo and update its branding.
“We’ve already invested quite a bit of time, got significant neighborhood feedback for this and we don’t want to screw it up at this point,” Stimart said.
So they’re forming a new committee.