Recognition has expiration date

Recognition has expiration date

When it comes to honor in Champaign, it's easy come, easy go.

"What's in a name?" William Shakespeare penned in "Romeo and Juliet."

The Champaign City Council's response to that inquiry is, "Certainly not permanency," at least not for those who have had their names attached in an honorific fashion to local streets.

Obviously tiring of the name game, council members voted to limit the process by which some community members are honored. The council is reducing the annual number of honorary street names from 12 per year to four and limiting the designation to a single block.

The council's action is understandable. What was initially perceived as a rare honor has fallen victim to a sort of political inflation. Our council politicians just can't say no.

There are 40 honorary street designations in Champaign. Henceforth, honorary street names will be limited to 10 years. Then the affected street will be stripped of its honorary status.

Outside The News-Gazette's office building, honorary Loren Tate Way, named at the request of his colleagues on the sports legend's 75th birthday, will return to its sole designation as Fremont Street, a humbling reduction in status that honors, we presume, John C. Fremont, who knew nothing of Big Ten sports.

For every time, there is a season, and seasons change. Honorees will have to come to grips with the fact that while the city honors them, it's a passing honor.

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rainhorizon wrote on January 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

These signs have unintended consequences.  I was called by a foreign student who was walking to work in dangerous temperatures asking me for a ride.  He identified the street he was on as "Illini Boulevard".  I had no clue where in the world he was.  It's not a good idea to make the honorary signs as large as the actual street signs nor to position them in such a way as to make them appear to be real. I would question the amount of city time and resources used to create ephemeral memoribilia for small numbers of dialed-in citizens.