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Canstar Community News
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This article was published 13/3/2012 (3076 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An Elmwood man hopes to convince the city to honour several local Olympians when upgrades to the Disraeli Bridge are completed in 2013.
Nelson Sanderson is circulating a petition requesting the city rename the bridge and connecting roadway to Olympian Freeway when it is officially reopened next year.
"At the end of the day I would like to install more pride in the youth from the area because we need it," said Sanderson, who has lived in the area for 25 years.
"We could also have banners situated along the bridge and the pedestrian path that honours all of Manitoba’s Olympians."
One of the most famous Canadian Olympic athletes, Clara Hughes, grew up in the Elmwood area and attended Elmwood High School. Cindy Klassen grew up in North Kildonan.
Sanderson acknowledged that there are other honours for Olympians such as Hughes and Klassen throughout the city, but believes this could help raise the profile of all Olympic athletes.
"If we have great figures like Clara recognized it would be great for the area," he said.
"We’re not exclusively putting Hughes and Klassen here, but I think they deserve to be recognized here."
Leilani Esteban, co-ordinator for Elmwood Communities That Care, a non-profit group that works to promote positive youth development, said renaming the bridge would be a positive development for the community.
"Any initiative where a resident takes pride in his community is a good initiative," Esteban said.
"This reflects what it means to be part of a community where we have heroes."
Esteban said renaming the freeway would increase pride in the community among area residents.
"It’s very important to give the community something to be proud of," she said.
"It is representative of a great many things and I think that changing the name to something that is representative to successes in our city as a whole is always good."
Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) said he’s aware that there are at least two petitions being circulated to have the bridge renamed.
Steen said it will ultimately be up to city council to decide if there is to be any change.
"I believe there’s a reason why they name things in the first place, and I believe we need to keep history," he said.
"I’m not a huge fan of renaming things, but I’m open to listening to everything."
Anyone interested in signing the petition can do so at http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-councillors-and-city-of-winnipeg-change-the-name-of-the-disraeli-freeway.
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