During the meeting on Tuesday, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners delayed the renaming of a street in honor of former President Obama.
The Board did approve the renaming of a street in honor of Robert and Trudie Perkins Way.
Vice Chairman Proctor made a motion to postpone the vote on changing the name of E. Pensacola St., to Obama Street, stating the roadway is not appropriate for the name change. He asked the Commissioners and staff to continue to search for the best roadway to suit the renaming. After debate, the motion passed with a 5-2 vote to delay on the naming.
Also, Commissioner Nick Maddox suggested when a roadway is changed to honor President Obama, the name should not be Obama Street, but it should be President Barack Obama Lane.
Commissioner Brian Welch did not support the renaming of E. Pensacola St. after President Obama. He asserted, that renaming the street does not help create jobs in the community or fix potholes. He also said that the renaming of a street after a president can be viewed as partisan and will offend half of his constituents.
The Street Renaming Process
At a county meeting on May 11, 2021, the Board repealed and replaced the ordinance related to naming streets. The revision allows for the county and citizens to request a change to a current street name. The changes in the rules also resolved uniformity issues and clarified the Board’s authority for street renaming approval within the incorporated areas of the county.
During the same meeting in May, the Board requested information regarding what streets may be renamed to honor President Barack Obama. Likewise, during the November 10, 2020, City Commission meeting, it was requested that staff provide options for the renaming of a street to honor Robert and Trudie Perkins.
Robert and Trudie Perkins were longtime residents of Tallahassee and civil rights activists who played an instrumental role in the fight for social justice and economic equality for black residents in Tallahassee.
For the changes requested by the county, funds from the Departments of Environmental Management (DSEM) and Public Works will be procured for the costs of mail notifications/advertisements, and the installation of new street signs. Similarly, the city will be responsible for the cost of street signs and installation, as they initiated the request to rename a street to honor Mr. and Mrs. Perkins.
East Pensacola Street, from South Monroe Street to Franklin Boulevard, will be renamed Obama Street. The renaming of this roadway will eliminate a duplicate street name and will require fewest address changes among the 10 roadways evaluated for renaming.
In the case of honoring Robert and Trudie Perkins, Gamble Street, which runs east and west from M.L. King, Jr. Boulevard to FAMU Way, will be renamed Robert and Trudie Perkins Way. Roughly 48 addresses will be affected, many of these are located on the FAMU campus. On June 7, 2021, the City Commission received a letter of support from the FAMU President, Dr. Larry Robinson, to rename Gamble Street.