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Mayor looks to change University Place name

The Chambers Bay golf course could be the inspiration for a new name for Pierce County's University Place. (AP image)

What’s in a name? Not enough for Pierce County’s University Place, according to the city’s mayor.

Ken Grassi says the city needs a new way to set itself apart to overcome its “identity shortage.” He’s proposing a new name, perhaps Chambers Bay, the name of the county’s golf course that will host the 2015 U.S. Open championship.

“If you can associate yourself with Chambers Bay, then fantastic,” Grassi tells KING 5.

The Open will give the city and region international exposure. The mayor calls it a potentially “great marketing opportunity.”

Grassi says University Place is all too routinely confused with Seattle’s University Village.

“When I moved here from New York I went looking for the university and realized there wasn’t one.”

The area was named in the 1800’s for the University of Puget Sound. But it ended up being built in Tacoma instead.

Still, there’s plenty of opposition to Grassi’s idea.

“There doesn’t need to be a university here. It’s just always been University Place,” Ruthanne Bacon tells KING 5.

“I’ve been here 31 years. Everyone knows us, why change it?” asks Bill Callier, who owns University Place Radiator, Mufflers and Brakes and says he has no plans on changing his signs or business name.

At this point Grassi says the idea is far from official.

The mayor says a group of private citizens, without using any taxpayer money, is looking into changing the name.

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