The Chicago City Council voted on Friday to rename its Lake Shore Drive freeway in honor of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the region’s first non-native settler, who has been credited as one of the town’s founders.
In a vote of 33 to 15, council approved renaming Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive, retaining the original label in the new name as part of a compromise between the council members.
Councilman David Moore, a leading aldermen pushing for the name change, said this week: “None of us would be here, including Lake Shore Drive, if this town hadn’t been founded by Jean Baptiste Point du Sable,” according to local NBC affiliate WMAQ.
After the change was passed on Friday, Moore told ABC affiliate WLS: “It’s not so much the weight on my shoulders. These are the babies I fight for.
“That’s the whole story. These babies and giving them hope when they drive down: hope. When they drive down: unity,” he added.
Among those who opposed the change was Alderman Brian Hopkins, who said some state residents support preserving “the tradition, the heritage, the appeal of the name.”
“It’s a beautiful name for a beautiful road,” he said, according to WMAQ.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) also initially opposed the plan, arguing that Lake Shore Drive’s name was too well-known and associated with the city to be changed.
According to WLS, Lightfoot initially pushed to invest $40 million to build a park, rename part of the Riverwalk and put up statues honoring DuSable.
However, the aldermen reached an agreement with Lightfoot’s office to keep the original name in the new one.
The vote on renaming the road was originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday, but was postponed after the day’s meeting ended abruptly due to arguments over Lightfoot’s lawyer’s nominee and disputes over the rules of the organism.
After Friday’s vote, Lightfoot accused the council of spending too much time debating the road name instead of other issues affecting Chicago residents.
“During this time the council has been talking about renaming roads and signs, not a baby has been fed and no workers have found jobs,” Lightfoot said, according to WLS.
“We have important priorities in this city, especially as we emerge from a pandemic,” she added.