What's in a name?
Plenty. Indeed, marketing experts would tell you that the name of a product is critically important.
So, if you ask us, a proposal to change the name of Cape May County's Lower Township to "Cape May Township" makes great sense.
It sure looks a lot better on a sweatshirt, as Rick Weber, who owns South Jersey Marina, told Press staff writer Richard Degener last week.
Besides, no offense intended, Cape May County could use some better names for its towns. Really, Lower Township, Middle Township and Upper Township? Not a whole of creativity or poetry there. (Although the names have been responsible for some memorable Press headlines over the years. Think "Lower man stabbed in Middle."
The name change is one of the proposals from a new economic-development committee in Lower. The idea is that the change would increase tourism and boost property values. And it's hard to argue against. Trying to bring more economic development to a place named "Lower" is ... well, an uphill fight, so to speak.
"Cape May" - that is, Cape May City - has become a highly recognizable and profitable brand. It means something to people. Something fun and attractive. And consider: the Cape May Canal, the Cape May Lighthouse, Cape May Inlet, the Port of Cape May and Cape May Airport are all located either all or in part in Lower Township.
The idea of a name change has come up before, but former Lower Mayor Robert Fothergill told Degener that the township's "old guard" opposed the change. The names Lower, Middle and Upper townships evolved out of the Lower, Middle and Upper precincts, which divided the county by religion in 1723 when the area was under British rule. (Lower was Presbyterian; Middle was Baptist; and Upper was Quaker.)
That's all very interesting history, but no reason to oppose the name-change, in our opinion.
The only legitimate opposition could come from Cape May City, which might object to Lower trying to cash in on its fame. But Cape May Mayor Ed Mahaney, at least, has no problem with the change. Good for him.
Apparently, the change can be made through a binding referendum, or by leaving it up to Township Council, which could hold a nonbinding referendum first to gauge public opinion.
We say go ahead and get it done.
And then maybe officials in Middle Township and Upper Township might want to give some thought to changing those names.