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Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sign on: Sprechen sie Leavenworth?

LEAVENWORTH, Chelan County — This faux-Bavarian village will adopt some German street names in a bid to improve the experience of thousands of tourists.

Names like "Markt Strasse" and "Fluss Weg" may go up on street signs by mid-June. Markt Strasse means Market Street in German and Fluss Weg is "the way to the river."

"It adds a little more realism. It makes us more authentic," said Mayor Bill Bauer.

That's important in a town where the economy depends on tourists drawn by a Bavarian mountain-village theme.

Bauer said the City Council likely will approve the names on May 13. The idea surfaced more than two years ago at a mayor's task force on downtown needs and priorities.

Originally, a complete replacement of English street names and numbers with German names was proposed.

But some names, like Front and Division, don't translate to German well and businesses would have had to pay for address changes, Bauer said.

To avoid those problems, the city's Design Review Board and Chamber of Commerce came up with adding German names, on street signs, under the English names. Commercial Street's German name will be Markt Strasse and Main Street's secondary name will be Fluss Weg.

Main Street really isn't the main street. It's a small street, back two blocks from the main drag, leading to Riverfront Park.

The true main street in the downtown core, Front Street, will be Park Strasse, since it goes by Front Street Park.

Streets normally aren't numbered in Bavaria, so the design-review board chose Bogener Strasse for Eighth Street. Bogener is a village where the Bavarian flag originated, city officials said.

Ninth will be Alpen Strasse, for mountain.

Tenth will be Festhallen Strasse, for the town's new civic center, which will be built there.

Division Street will be Adler Strasse, meaning eagle street, in honor of the Audubon Society's Learning Center, to be located there. Two alleys will be named Edelweiss and Enzian, for flowers.

Residential streets were excluded, Bauer said, to minimize confusion.

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