Geneseo aldermen say 'no' to memorial street signs

Lisa Depies

The City of Chicago may be filled with honorary street signs memorializing prominent citizens, but such a memorial won’t be seen in Geneseo.

At the Tuesday, Feb. 28 committee of the whole meeting, aldermen discussed a recent request from a family to name a city street in memory of a deceased resident.

In researching how other communities handle honorary street designations, Geneseo City Administrator Lisa Kotter said the technicalities of determining who was worthy enough or did enough for the community to have a street in their honor were overwhelming.

Some communities that did opt to name streets in honor of late pillars of the community later faced tough decisions when less- than-savory details emerged about the deceased.

“It sounds like it could be a can of worms,” said alderman Brenda Johnson.

An informal poll of aldermen indicated no support for memorial street signs in Geneseo.

Instead, city officials said the city offers other ways for family members to memorialize loved ones including benches and trees.

Although memorials such as flower gardens were discussed, lack of maintenance agreements often means the onus to care for the garden falls on city staff.

“We’d prefer an object like a bench or tree, rather than a garden,” said the city’s public works director, Chad VanDeWoestyne.