What’s in a name? Depends on location

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BOSTON (AP) – Most mayors would love to have Tom Menino’s problem. The Boston mayor was irked when a New Hampshire airport added Boston to its name.

But when it comes to naming, many cities suffer the indignity of being ignored. Real estate developers do it all the time.

They don’t think twice about naming The Residences at Milton Landing, a development in the upscale town of Milton. Likewise, Canton Crossing is in Canton.

“Canton is a great town. It has good schools. It’s a great location,” said Sherry Lombard, a sales director for Coldwell Banker. “It was definitely a conscious decision.”

But other locations are less obvious, like The Boulders, which is in Brockton. How about Atlantica? Revere. And some want to simply take you away: The Castles at Scotland Yard is on the Rhode Island border town of Uxbridge, far from London.

The naming debate flared this week when Manchester Airport in New Hampshire was renamed Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. Menino said that Manchester is trying to cash-in on Boston’s good name.

North Adams Mayor John Barrett III is still smarting over the 1997 renaming of North Adams State College to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

“When you see a name change it’s because you want to dissociate yourself from something,” Barrett said. “We were still that struggling old mill town. We’re proud of our city. The natives were not happy.”

Denise Richardello, the school’s vice president of enrollment, said there was an immediate drop in enrollment but the name change has been a success.

“We’ve been able to expand our geographic reach,” she said, noting that 20 percent of the school’s 1,850 students is from out of state, compared with 5 percent before. “The direct benefit is the diversity of the student population.”

The new name piques out-of-state students’ curiosity because “Massachusetts is known for its quality higher education,” she said.

The school’s new name is at least geographically accurate, unlike some real estate developments like the Castles at Scotland Yard.

“The name probably is deceiving,” said Debby Johnson, who has lived there eight years. “We’re on a large hill. That might have something to do with it.”

Manchester, N.H., of course, has been on the receiving end of the name game. In 1990, residents of Essex County’s Manchester-by-the-Sea, formerly Manchester, made their town’s nickname official to distinguish itself from other Manchesters in New England.

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