Pending Approval, Erieside Will Be Honorarily Renamed for Former Mayor Mike White

Get ready for Michael White Boulevard - WALTER  NOVAK
Walter Novak
Get ready for Michael White Boulevard

Pending approval by the Cleveland City Planning Commission and city council, Erieside between East 9th and Al Lerner Way will be honorarily named for former mayor Mike White.

Kerry McCormack is the sponsoring councilman; the street was ostensibly chosen because of White's work to land Cleveland the new Browns in 1999 and not to remind Cleveland of White's disastrous leadership during the design and construction of the new stadium.

Time has been kind to the former mayor.

Now separated by two decades from the (abrupt) end to his life in public office — one that by the last years was defined by sour battles driven by scorn and vindictiveness; a brash, secretive go-it-alone style that alienated just about everyone in town and tainted White's wins; and the spectre of corruption convictions that ran up to the very top of his administration, but stopped just outside his door — White is a respected elder content to largely stay off the grid and out of the headlines down in Newcomerstown with his winery and alpacas.

After briefly reemerging into the news in 2017 when he coordinated a last-minute Super PAC with regional big-ticket financiers Al Ratner, Fred Nance and Dominic Ozanne to guarantee Frank Jackson's victory against Zack Reed, White went further this year when he endorsed Justin Bibb.

The honorary street name complies with new internal policies instituted by council president Kevin Kelley in 2019, which were developed out of frustration with the city's process of giving out street names and reaction to one particularly bad moment on that front: That one time council considered renaming a section of Cedar Ave. in honor of Don King, but didn't realize it was the exact section of Cedar Ave. on which Don King once killed a man.

A refresher on the honorary street name policies:

  • Individuals must be deceased for at least two years or be retired at least 10 years from a distinguished career or have made an accomplishment or contribution to the city or region.
  • Organizations should be in operation in Cleveland for at least 25 years and should be of major importance to the city.
  • A street receiving an honorary designation must be in the sponsoring council member’s ward and the honorary street cannot exceed one block.
  • The designation will expire in 10 years.
  • Council members will be limited to two honorary street names during a four-year term.
  • If the designation involves a residential street, the request must be accompanied by signatures from 70 percent of the property owners.

Those considered should have:

  • Made significant contributions in arts, science, religion, entertainment philanthropic, or business.
  • Generously volunteered time and effort for the betterment of the city, state or nation.
  • Served with distinction in the United States armed forces or community safety forces.

McCormack also wants to honorarily rename East 4th St. between Prospect and Huron for the Belkin family.
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