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Youngstown leaders consider naming street after councilman’s wife

YOUNGSTOWN — The city’s planning commission and eventually city council will consider a proposal to rename a section of a street Oliver Way, a few feet from the home of Councilman Julius Oliver.

Oliver, D-1st Ward, said the street’s full name would be Dr. J. Oliver Way, named after his wife Jazmine, an internal medicine doctor at the Cleveland Clinic. But the legislation sponsored by Councilwoman Basia Adamczak, D-7th Ward, just lists it as Oliver Way.

The matter has been held up for about a year by the city law department over concerns about a conflict of interest, said Julius Oliver and Adamczak, his close friend.

“I put in the request for the change a year ago and it was on the planning commission’s meeting agenda,” Adamczak said. “It was pulled, and I was told it may be a conflict of interest. I don’t see that. Then I was told it was going back on the agenda.”

No houses are on the section of Hadnet Drive between South and East Woodland avenues, Adamczak said. The Olivers live on East Woodland Avenue and moved into the home last week. The commmorative sign is next to the house, and that would be the location of an actual sign if the renaming legislation is approved.

“No one will have to change their address,” Adamczak said. “The reason for the sign is to recognize the most expensive private home investment on the city’s South Side and to honor a doctor who is a role model for others.”

City council referred the street renaming Wednesday to the planning commission. The commission has to recommend the name change, and then it comes back to council for a vote.

But the city’s street department put up a Dr. J. Oliver Way sign on the road a few weeks ago.

Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works and a planning commission member, said Oliver asked him to put an honorary sign on the street. After talking with Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, Shasho said it was agreed to put up the sign.

“It’s a commemorative sign,” Shasho said. “We did it for a few others before. The next thing I know it’s on the agenda for an actual sign. We’ll play the process through. I’m not sure what will happen. But it is a whole process with a commission hearing, sending out public notices to all property owners. Council has to finalize it.”

Shasho said Brown “was indifferent about” the commemorative sign for Oliver’s wife.

Brown, who also sits on the planning commission, said of the street renaming proposal: “I’ve heard of it with others. It’s being moved to the planning commission. I’ll let the planning commission address it.”

Oliver said it is important to give his wife the honor “to show our young men and women that you can succeed living in the city. It sets a precedent. Our kids need to see they can do this. Every citizen should do their best and this shows that. This is a way we can set an example.”

Oliver added: “My wife moved back to the Valley, and we built a home on the South Side. She saw my vision for Youngstown. We showed what the city can do with vacant properties.”

Asked if a street renaming was necessary, Oliver said, “Why not? We do it for other people. It’s only one piece of a street. We already put an honorary sign up.”

Oliver is expected to abstain from voting on the street renaming if it comes to council from the planning commission.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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