It's one of the fastest growing communities in Metro Nashville, but many who live in Antioch say it has a less than ideal reputation.
Now, there's a movement to turn that around, and it begins with changing the name.
Metro Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell said Antioch has among the lowest crime rates in Davidson County, but she also believes perception can lead to reality for some. So when businesses want to move to Antioch, she now wants them to hear the name Nashville instead.
Longtime residents Cecil and Betty Waldron can recall when Antioch was mostly farmland. Between them, they have photographs that show several generations of family members who came to America and settled in the original Antioch, which they said was centered near Blue Hole Road and Antioch Pike at Mill Creek.
Today, Antioch is home to at least 180,000 people from various backgrounds. And as the look of Antioch has changed, so, too, has the reputation, from farmers and farmland to sprawling subdivisions as well as public housing.
The Waldrons said they support the grassroots effort to rename Antioch and call it "Nashville," period.
"I've had people say, 'Oh, you live there?' Well, where we live is just fine. It's just the little bit," Betty Waldron said.
Dowell is spearheading the most recent of ongoing effort to rebrand Antioch.
Right now, if your zip code is 37013, the U.S. Post Office regards your address as Antioch, no matter if you live in Cane Ridge, Baker Town, Priest Lake, Rural Hill Road or any of the other pockets of southeast Nashville.
Dowell is hoping an official name change will end up changing things for the better for industry as well as for new and long-time residents.
"I represent two areas - Antioch and Cane Ridge. It's a challenge when I refer to my district. I can't call it just Antioch or Cane Ridge. So I've settled on the name southeast Nashville. And that doesn't disrespect the communities' individual identities," Dowell said.
Antioch covers such a vast area that it is one of few Metro communities whose residents can travel to and from home using all three local interstates: I-65, I-24 and I-40.
"We are bigger than the name we have. We are Nashville, too," Dowell said.
"I think it would be better if we considered it part of Nashville and just let it be at that," Betty Waldron said.
This movement is only in the beginning stages, and Dowell said a potential name change for Antioch isn't something she can make happen at a local level. The postmaster general would need to be involved to look at that zip code issue, and then the state government would need to weigh in as well.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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