SPRINGFIELD --- The Illinois House today approved a measure to name a section of Cicero Avenue for the late Nelson Mandela.
Mandela Road would start at Roosevelt Road on the south and end at West Grand Avenue on the north, said Rep. LaShawn Ford, whose district includes the stretch of road. Ford originally wanted to rename all of Cicero Avenue, but ran into some opposition. Mandela, long imprisoned in the once-apartheid South Africa where he later became president, died in December.
Ford said IDOT estimated the cost will be $20,000, an expense that was questioned on the House floor.
“It might seem like a really high price for new street signs, but we’re going to make sure everyone who drives down that road knows it’s Mandela Road,” he said. “There will be a big sign or plaque at every stop light, serving as a tribute to the inspirational leader’s memory.”
Ford, who faces a federal bank fraud charge, said he decided to sponsor the resolution because “Mandela is all about education, reform and freedom.”
“He’s also a great man who believed in forgiveness and coming together, and so the district that I represent needs to see more hope,” Ford said. “This road can serve as a symbol to my people that there is hope, and hope for change. That’s what Mandela stands for.”
The joint resolution was adopted on a 103-0 vote and now heads to the Senate.