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Mixed reactions to banners that say Downtown Aggieland in Downtown Bryan

Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 19:31:53-05

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — Aggieland, has traditionally been used to describe the general Bryan/College Station area. However, now that it's being used as part of a descriptor for Downtown Bryan, controversy is begging to stir in the community.

You'll see flags that read, Downtown Aggieland, spread throughout Downtown Bryan.

Ask local artist, Kirsten Grief though, and he'll tell you he doesn't think the name belongs here.

"Bryan has its own identity, that is kind of separate from College Station. Aggieland is more of College Station's identity," Grief shared.

While Bryan began putting up this messaging around Nov., Dustin Batson, local business owner of several Downtown Bryan locations, sees this all as just a marketing gimmick.

"Aggieland is not a real place. It's as real as Wonderland. I don't know why people are so up and open arms about it," Batson said.

Grief, a Houston-native says, it was this very historic, and quirky, downtown area that drew her to move here three years ago. She fears, calling it 'Downtown Aggieland', poses a threat to that identity.

"I live in College Station but I come here for the art, to display my art. There isn't anywhere you can really do that in College Station," Grief said. However, that's not to say this sentiment is shared among other locals.

"If they were calling it North College Station, or New College Station, I would understand the outrage, but I mean it's not taking away any kind of identity, or any kind of culture, anything like that. It's still Downtown Bryan," Batson said.

While the city says there will be no formal name change, the purpose remains, to welcome Texas A&M families, and celebrate the university's investment into Downtown Bryan.

"We're not picking or choosing between being Bryan or a campus. We're saying that we're actually both," Mayor Andrew Nelson, City of Bryan said.

Grief says, she worries an influx of students could lead to gentrification.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with, you know, wanting to bring students out here. But I think it's more about keeping the larger corporations out." Grief explained.

Mayor Nelson says, the local shops that makes it so unique are here to stay.

"We are still proudly Downtown Bryan, but we are also very proud to play the role as Aggieland's Downtown," Mayor Nelson said. Assuring his residents, that downtown will still hold onto the past, while it looks towards the bright future.