Report: City says no to McMicken Avenue name change — at least for now

Report: City says no to McMicken Avenue name change — at least for now
Charles McMicken (Photo: Facebook page of Archives & Rare Books Library, University of Cincinnati)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The City of Cincinnati advises against changing the name of McMicken Avenue—at least for now.

A report from City Manager Patrick Duhaney on the potential name change was issued Tuesday after a January motion from Councilmember Jeff Pastor asked the administration to explore the issue, solicit public input and determine its feasibility.

Pastor’s motion followed on the heels of the University of Cincinnati choosing to scrub “McMicken” from its College of Arts and Sciences.

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Charles McMicken, the namesake of both the street and college, was a slaveowner.

“In no other country do we honor men who basically were responsible for the most heinous acts of human suffering," Pastor said at the time. “This has nothing to do with trying to erase history. We fought literally against these folks.”

Duhaney’s report finds the cost to change signage associated with McMicken Avenue would be around $15,000, which includes fabrication and installation of 54 signs at 27 intersections.

There is also a cost associated with printing and mailing postcards asking property owners to suggest names for consideration, estimated to be around $1,500.

The report ultimately recommends against the street renaming on the premise that it would interfere with the 2020 census.

“The U.S. Census Bureau has already received and accepted all residential addresses for the upcoming census,” Duhaney wrote in the report. “Census mailers and enumerators will use a recently verified listing of current addresses for all residents in the City of Cincinnati. Any address change to addresses that take place prior to the completion of the census could jeopardize a complete and accurate count for Cincinnati.”

The report, which makes no determination on the name change itself, goes on to explain the process for changing a street name.

All permanent changes to street names—not honorary street names—must go through the city planning department’s naming committee. If a name change is proposed, the department could conduct an online survey to gather name suggestions. Once collected, those names would be submitted to city council’s neighborhoods committee, and a name would be suggested via motion.

The proposed name would then go back through the planning department’s naming committee and up to the director of city planning, which would make a recommendation to the department.

The city planning commission would then vote on the name change, after which an ordinance would be submitted to city council, with council making the final decision.

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