Smiles all around for the common sense exhibited at Tuesday’s Clinton City Council meeting.

After Ward 1 Councilman Bob Soesbe offered his suggestion to rename Riverview Drive something like Veterans Memorial Highway or Veterans Boulevard, the other five councilmen (Bette Oakley was absent) expressed a valid concern for several reasons.

Chief among them, we feel, is that trying to rename Riverview Drive would be failure no matter what name was chosen. First of all, there’s no more natural name for a road that offers some of the best views of any part of the Upper Mississippi River. Second, the disconnect from Riverview Park would be confusing. And finally, wouldn’t most people simply call it Riverview anyway?

Look at Alliant Energy Field (formerly Riverview Stadium). The city and the baseball team use that name in formal documents and signs, but many folks still swear by the name the ballpark had for more than 50 years. It would be no honor to veterans to try to force a name on a public that likely would pay no heed to the change.

Some people suggested applying the designation to the short section of Fifth Avenue South that leads to the memorial fountain on Riverview Drive. That’s all well and good, but what about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Clinton County Courthouse? We think a better idea is for the city to work with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to produce a small brochure that could aid self-guided tours to such memorials throughout the area.

This document could be expanded to included markers for people who served their country in other ways — such as the recreational trail signs honoring local astronauts and other space agency workers or the Freedom Tree Memorial site — and also to people who have served the community, such as the Jack Dermody plaque on Fifth Avenue South or the Marvel Bartels marquee in Lyons Foursquare Park.

But if the goal is to honor veterans and veterans alone — and that is a very fine idea — then perhaps the city could look to new or at least newer projects. There will be roads built in and around the new casino area that have no name. Many people can’t agree on what to call Mill Creek Parkway, preferring to use the terms expressway or bypass. Veterans Memorial Parkway has a very nice ring to it, and its not as if any businesses would have to change their letterhead.

Maybe a road isn’t good enough. Maybe the city should agree that if it ever builds a new park to name it Veterans Park. Not that those plans are on the table or anything, but who wouldn’t like a little more green space?

In short, honoring our veterans is very much an honorable goal. It’s just that using Riverview Drive to do so wouldn’t be worthy of the respect our veterans deserve. Fortunately the council realized the facts of the matter, as did Soesbe, who politely withdrew his request. We were glad to see the matter handled with such maturity and respect.

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