OGDEN — It’s been years since Ogden City officially christened portions of two city streets after a pair of prominent civil rights leaders.
But after recent and renewed public interest, the city council is considering extending those honorary designations by several blocks.
In 1995, Ogden city officials approved an honorary designation that named a portion of 24th Street after black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In 2003, city officials approved an honorary designation for part of 30th Street, naming it after labor leader and Latino civil rights activist César Chávez.
Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Street runs between G and Jefferson avenues on 24th Street, with César Chávez Street on 30th Street from Wall Avenue to Monroe Boulevard. The original proposal for MLK Street called for the designation to go up to Harrison, with talks on Chávez Street revolving around extending the designation as high up on Ogden’s East Bench as possible.
But according to city council documents, there was some community feedback regarding the costs and needs for the designations, which resulted in the compromised and shortened designations.
In about 2015, the council received a request from Dr. Forrest Crawford and former council member Jesse Garcia to extend the street name designations, but the council decided to first let the soon-to-be formed Ogden Diversity Commission examine the issue and come up with a recommendation.
The diversity commission scrutinized the request in 2017, forwarding a proposal to the city’s planning commission that was considered and recommended for council approval in June of this year.
That proposal involves pushing both honorary streets to Harrison Boulevard, with new signage extending alongside the entirety of the two routes. On Tuesday, the city council voted to set a public hearing on the matter, which has been set for 6 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.
According to council documents, city planning staff received a handful of emails from residents, concerned that the extension would necessitate formal address changes. But after the citizens were informed there would be no such requirement, the city received no follow-up concerns.
In an email to the city’s planning department, Ogden Fire Chief Mike Mathieu said the proposed extension would not impact mapping systems and therefore his department had no objections to the proposal. Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt and City Engineer Justin Anderson also said they couldn’t foresee any issues with the renaming.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Garcia urged the council to vote for the proposal later this month.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “Dr. Crawford and I started this many, many years ago.”