After some heated debate about who was to blame for a street naming snafu, Evanston aldermen came up with a solution Monday night by voting instead to name their meeting room after former mayor Jay Lytle.

Officials at First Bank & Trust where Lytle was one of the founders, had hoped to have the block of Church Street that includes the bank’s downtown headquarters designated with honorary street signs for Lytle, after he retired from the bank at the end of last year.

But that didn’t happen — and Alderman Judy Fiske, whose 1st Ward includes the bank building, and Mark Tendam, whose 6th Ward includes Lytle’s home, disagreed sharply Monday night about who was to blame for the oversight.

Fiske claimed bank officials had never contacted her about the idea and so she used her one honorary street name selection for this year for someone else.

But Tendam dismissed that version of events as “garbage.”

Tendam sought to give all aldermen a chance to recommend honorary names for downtown blocks or, as an alternative, to let the mayor, who doesn’t currently get to recommend honorary street names, the option of selecting one each year.

Neither of those ideas were approved, but when Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggested naming the council chamber after Lytle instead, all the aldermen present voted to embrace that idea.  

Then they went a step further and voted to name the conference room referred to as the aldermanic library for another former mayor, Joan Barr, who died earlier this year.

Back in 2009 the aldermen voted to name the entire Civic Center building for former mayor Lorraine Morton after — in another naming controversy — the District 65 school board dropped plans to rename Haven School, where she had served as principal, after her.

Related story

More honorary street signs downtown? (7/6/15)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. You call that a street name?
    I’d definitely vote in favor of naming the street “Snafu.”
    “Garbage” street, not so much.

  2. How they spend time and money ?

    You would think the Council would have better things to do than spend time and money on honorary street signs—like doing some real business to operate the city.

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