Artsakh Avenue named in honor of city’s Armenian community

A sign for Artsakh Avenue — formerly a stretch of Maryland Avenue — was unveiled Tuesday morning during a street naming ceremony hosted by the city of Glendale.

The event drew officials from near and far: All five Glendale City Council members were present, in addition to state Sen. Anthony Portantino and Robert Avetisyan, a U.S. representative for Artsakh, which is a contested republic between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In June, the City Council voted 4-0 to rename a two-block section of Maryland Avenue, between Wilson Avenue and Harvard Street, to Artsakh Avenue.

During the decision-making process, Councilman Ara Najarian said it was overdue to have a street referencing the city’s large Armenian-American community.

Approval of the name change followed months of heated debate between stakeholders including business owners, Glendale residents and Unified Young Armenians, a group of activists who proposed the name change in February.

To address business owners’ concerns that the name change will adversely affect them, the city set aside $1,000 for each of the 131 businesses on the two-block portion of the street to help cover costs of reprinting materials with new addresses.

Businesses can apply for the money as a grant.

Twitter: @lila_seidman