Stow to rename Route 8 bridge for John Lewis

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal
The city of Stow is moving forward with renaming the Steels Corners bridge over Route 8 in honor of the late U.S. representative and civil rights activist John Lewis.

The city of Stow is moving forward with renaming the Steels Corners bridge over Route 8 in honor of the late civil rights activist U.S. Rep. John Lewis. 

"My best estimate is that a full unveiling would happen around the first to mid-May," Stow Mayor John Pribonic said. "We want to make sure this is handled respectfully and correctly. This is more than just hanging a sign."

More:Stow seeks to rename Route 8 bridge to honor U.S Rep. Lewis

City Council unanimously approved the soon-to-be-renamed "John Lewis Bridge" in September, a few months after council passed a resolution to promote racial equality in Stow, which was co-sponsored by Councilwomen Sindi Harrison and Christina Shaw.

The city of Stow is moving forward with renaming the Steels Corners bridge over Route 8 in honor of the late civil rights activist U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

Steels Corners is a local roadway, but because the bridge is in the limited access of state Route 8, the city sent the renaming to the Ohio Department of Transportation for review, city engineer Jim McCleary said. 

"We filed all the requirements to satisfy ODOT," McCleary said.

Signage, which must comply with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, will take at least a month to create, Pribonic said, and the city would like to wait until it is warmer out so it can hold an unveiling ceremony.

The idea was initially proposed by Councilman Steve Hailer, who knew three people who marched with Lewis from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Hailer was inspired after reading that Ohio was the first non-segregated state Lewis visited at the age of 11. 

"We still had a long way to go at that point, but I was inspired by that," Hailer said. "John Lewis deserves to be recognized in Ohio."

Hailer added that he hopes that seeing the name "John Lewis" on the bridge may prompt conversations about Lewis. 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, kkano@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.