Portion of Cincinnati's Reading Road to Be Renamed President Barack Obama Avenue

A portion of Reading Road — from downtown Cincinnati to the intersection of Reading and Galbraith roads in Reading — is slated to be renamed "President Barack Obama Avenue."

click to enlarge Reading Road and Martin Luther King Drive in Clifton - Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps
Reading Road and Martin Luther King Drive in Clifton

A portion of Reading Road — from downtown Cincinnati to the intersection of Reading and Galbraith roads in Reading — is slated to be renamed "President Barack Obama Avenue."

There is no timeline yet for the completion of the project. 

Cincinnati City Council member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney submitted the motion for the street renaming with council member Wendell Young. It was approved with a single "no" vote this week. (Councilwoman Betsy Sundermann voted no in order to wait to hear results of a pending official report). 

Lemon Kearney said initial reports suggest the cost of the road renaming will be around $50,000 and that instead of asking the city to fund the project in the current economic climate, she will seek private fundraising. The majority of the cost will come from changing street signs along the route. Mailing addresses for those along the new road will also need to be updated.

In a statement attached to the motion, Lemon Kearney said the impetus for renaming a portion of Reading Road after President Obama — a discussion she began several years ago — was reignited after a young man came to council asking them to honor the 44th President and his contributions.

"Councilmember Wendell Young and I began discussing renaming Reading Road after President Barack Obama several years ago, when I was publisher of The Cincinnati Herald. Our office received a groundswell of public support," she wrote. 

The project was put on hold after council member Young suffered some health issues. 

"However, in July, a young man, Caleb Price, came to City Hall and requested that City Council honor President Barack Obama with the street naming. Mr. Price’s enthusiasm and drive, not to mention his work in collecting thousands of signatures, showed us that now is the time to honor our 44th president, and to let his message of 'hope and change' for the betterment of all Americans ring across our city."

Read the full statement attached to the amended motion Lemon Kearny wrote and the full motion below:

Councilmember Wendell Young and I began discussing renaming Reading Road after President Barack Obama several years ago, when I was publisher of The Cincinnati Herald. Our office received a groundswell of public support. Councilmember Young’s office began the process, but soon thereafter, Councilmember Young experienced some health issues that required him to recuperate before resuming his duties. When I took a seat on City Council, one of the items on my office’s agenda was resuming the process to rename Reading Road after President Obama. The agenda item took a back seat to pressing issues that our City is facing.

However, in July, a young man, Caleb Price, came to City Hall and requested that City Council honor President Barack Obama with the street naming. Mr. Price’s enthusiasm and drive, not to mention his work in collecting thousands of signatures, showed us that now is the time to honor our 44th president, and to let his message of “hope and change” for the betterment of all Americans ring across our city.

Given the cost of the renaming, and the urgent needs of our citizens for City funds during this pandemic, our office will work with Mr. Price and other members of our community to raise funds for this project before asking the City to contribute any additional funding.

Our present goal is to immediately gain approval for the renaming project. Such approval not only will help with fundraising efforts, but will give notice to existing and new developments which could reduce their expenditures for the address change. Upon City Council granting approval, our office will keep Council updated on ongoing plans for the renaming.

We are thankful to Mr. Caleb Price for his leadership in being the impetus behind this project and for letting us see the importance of shining a bright light in the middle of a storm.

Here is the motion:

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