Government

East Marion development changes name to East Town Crossing, to remove a Native American slur

MARION — A large mixed-use development in east Marion, formerly known as Squaw Creek Crossing, has changed its name.

The development, now known as East Town Crossing, follows efforts to remove an ethnic and sexual slur toward Native American women from names of places in Linn County.

East Town Crossing, at the intersection Highways 13 and 151, is a 20-acre property, already hosting a Kwik Star, Panchero’s, Jersey Mike’s and Pizza Ranch as well as Dupaco Community Credit Union. The site also will be home to other businesses in the future as well as a hotel and apartments.

The name change creates a “welcoming environment to all in the area,” according to a news release from Ridge Development, developer of the $15 million project.

“East Town Crossing is a name that reflects belonging and stands as the eastern gateway to Marion,” the release said. “Those that are new to the area, along with existing residents, can now see East Town Crossing as a symbol of Marion’s welcoming and vibrant community.”

In September, the former Squaw Creek Park became Wanatee Park, named after a women’s rights activist and Meskwaki language specialist from Tama County, Jean Adeline Morgan Wanatee.

As for the creek itself, the Linn County Board of Supervisors has formally requested that the U.S. Geologic Survey’s Board of Geographic Names rename it Wanatee Creek.

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Changing the name of a river or stream involves federal, state and local jurisdictions. The name change for the creek in Linn County already has the support of the cities of Cedar Rapids and Marion and Linn County Board of Supervisors.

Various groups were involved in discussions about the name change for the park and creek, including the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi of Iowa (Meskwaki Nation).

Ryan Schlader, community outreach specialist for the Linn County Conservation Board, told The Gazette on Monday that the Board of Geographic Names has confirmed receipt of the name change request.

“The Board of Supervisors were told it is about a six-month process and perhaps longer due to COVID-19, which we anticipated,” Schlader said.

In November, the supervisors also approved name changes for roads names that contained the slur. Multiple roads were renamed to include Wanatee.

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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