DC residents vote on new name for Dave Thomas Circle in NoMa

Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, center, holds a bat she was presented as she is honored on before a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Washington. Johnson was one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(AP/Alex Brandon)

D.C. residents have voted on a new name for the intersection of Florida Avenue and New York Avenue NE in the NoMa neighborhood — which is undergoing major renovations to house new public spaces — Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday.

The intersection, which was previously known unofficially as “Dave Thomas Circle,” will now be called “Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson Plaza,” after the first female pitcher to play in the African American baseball league. She died in 2017.

The name change comes after more than 4,300 residents cast their vote during a community input process led by the NoMa Business Improvement District. There were four other options for voters to choose from: Douglass Crossing, Three Stars Plaza, Tiber Gateway and People’s Plaza.

“Our community is ready to start a new chapter at this intersection, and we are off to a strong start by naming it after such an iconic woman,” Bowser said. “Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson was a pioneer. Now, it is fitting that her name will represent these new spaces where residents and visitors can rest and play.”

The D.C. government announced a $41 million infrastructure project at the intersection in July, meant to improve safety. The reconstruction, which is scheduled to be done in December of 2024, will realign and add two-way traffic to First Street NE, restore two-way traffic on Florida Avenue NE, add bicycle lanes and create three new public parks.

“These three new green spaces will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, and the mobility and safety improvements resulting from this overall roadway reconfiguration project will benefit everyone who lives, works, visits and passes through this area of northeast D.C.,” said Maura Brophy, the president of the NoMa BID.

Now that the community has settled on a name for the space, the D.C. Council must introduce and pass formal legislation to make it official.

Until 2021, the only property on the block was a Wendy’s restaurant, which explains its former name: Dave Thomas was the founder of Wendy’s.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been changed to reflect the correct end date for the reconstruction project. 

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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