Archive for Monday, January 30, 2012

Renaming policy

The decision to rename even a short stretch of a city street shouldn’t be taken lightly.

January 30, 2012


The vote was unanimous. Lawrence city commissioners voted to name a city street immediately north of Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium as “Fambrough Drive” in honor of the late Jayhawk football coach, Don Fambrough.

Some local residents are pleased with this action; others were opposed but, for one reason or another, did not want to voice their objections; and still others probably didn’t care one way or another.

Fambrough played football at KU, coached and was fired twice as the school’s football coach. He was considered one of the most intense, outspoken critics of the Missouri Tigers.

Fambrough fans believed one of the best ways to remember the fiery ex-coach, who died in September, would be to name a city street adjacent to the football stadium in honor of their hero.

Again, some residents are happy; loyal Fambrough supporters are happy. Other residents think it was a mistake but didn’t want to say anything publicly, and many residents probably don’t care. However, city officials should take far more care concerning future requests for renaming city streets.

True, Fambrough was a colorful character, well-liked by many. But the question is: Where do you draw the line on changing the names of city streets?

If such a decision or honor is based on recognizing contributions to the university, how about former Chancellor Franklin Murphy or other chancellors — or others in the athletic field, such as the late Arthur “Dutch” Lonborg, who served with honor as the university’s athletic director or a basketball coach such as Roy Williams, a football player such as Gale Sayers or a basketball player? How about the internationally known KU basketball coach Forrest “Phog” Allen or many others who have distinguished themselves and brought honor to the school, Lawrence and the state? Would Ford Motor Co. president and Lawrence native Alan Mulally rate consideration?

The short section of 11th Street soon will be called Fambrough Drive and will intersect with Missouri Street, much to the delight of either Fambrough fans, Missouri haters or both. Fambrough Drive also will intersect with Fambrough Way, a private street just west of Memorial Stadium that university officials already had planned to rename in honor of the former coach — again, a coach who was fired twice.

It’s fine for the university to rename a campus street in honor of a noted individual, but, in the future, it is hoped city officials will give far more serious consideration to changing the names of streets as a means to please fans or a given individual or for other questionable reasons.


littlexav 6 years, 2 months ago

For the first time in a long time, I actually agree with the LJW editorial board. But where was your sense of righteous indignation when they renamed 15th Street into Bob Billings?

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 2 months ago

There are lots of possibilities. Many cities have two names - a regular name, and an honorary name put above the regular street name in a different color of street name (usually brown).

But the choice is more difficult. If anyone should receive the first name, it should be Amos Lawrence, the person who founded the town.

And there are many other persons who deserve recognition before Fambrough.

I would like to see Lawrence as a town with a number of honorary streets, but there needs to be a process by which names are chosen. Fambrough doesn't make it.

grimpeur 6 years, 2 months ago

What a silly endeavor. Scrap this silly redundant plan. Let KU name their streets however they want. But leave the city streets alone. And change the signs on 15th back to their proper designations. Sheesh.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree with grimpeur. It's troubling that a supposedly educated community would actively seek a name change for an athletic director or a developer. Do we have a Euclid street? Every other token I have lived in had a Euclid street. How about Mozart? Actually, Simons wouldn't be a bad choice. The family has produced the newspaper for a long time.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 2 months ago

Apple OS changes my words. It's "town" rather than "token". Sory 'bout that.

WorldCitizen 6 years, 2 months ago

I strongly agree with the sentiment expressed in this editorial, with one comment: To me, places named for prominent KU personages should be limited to the KU campus, except for those special KU employees who have also served the City of Lawrence with distinction. Throughout Lawrence's remarkable 158-year history, countless admirable citizens have made notable contributions to the city, and most of these have not yet been honored with place-names. As the editorial writer suggests: Honoring individuals with naming opportunities calls for "serious consideration." To correct the editorial's second paragraph, some who opposed the City Commission's actions did voice objections to the commissioners prior to their vote.

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