To the Editor:
The prospect of renaming Chicago’s historic Stony Island Avenue is troubling. The late Rev. Arthur Brazier may well qualify for memorial recognition, but there urgently needs to be public discussion and serious consideration of what kind of memorial would be most appropriate.
The present and long-standing name of the broad six-mile artery invokes both geologic and human history. The original “Stony Island” existed ages ago at what is now the south end of the avenue. At the time, it protruded from a higher Lake Michigan and had significance in the lives of the early Native American settlers. It would be a great misfortune to precipitously do away with the historic name that is so familiar to all of us.
A major consequence of such action would be the resulting inconvenience and confusion to the public. This would adversely affect not only the citizens, but also the many visitors to our city. In addition, there will considerable cost to taxpayers, as hundreds of street signs and directional signs will have to be replaced, and all kinds of paper reprinted, a burden especially for businesses. The state Skyway signs must also be changed. In the current financial crisis of both city and state, we can ill afford to be diverting funds to this ill-conceived and unnecessary project.
Reverend Brazier was a man of many good works, and it seems to me that a far more fitting and living memorial would be the initiation of or addition to a service dedicated to providing for human needs, health, the good of the community, etc. The proposed expenditures for street renaming cannot be of help to anyone! An appeal to people of good will can assist in raising of funds to help endow what could be a truly fitting memorial.
Charles S. Staples