NEW PARIS — During a New Paris council meeting on Monday, Nov. 4, J. Todd Smith, State Representative of the 43rd District, presented a proposed “ceremonial” street-naming project, called “Preble County Patriotic Parkway.”
This presentation was only the first of several council meetings Smith attended throughout the month to propose the project.
Smith explained, people would expect a politician to start naming streets once elected, but he didn’t want to do that. However, after attending several events — including a funeral of a beloved community member — and having a meeting with a disgruntled citizen, Smith came up with the idea for the parkway with the intention of “teaching the next generation” the meaning of true patriotism.
“Right now, I feel like the ideological left is raising another generation of young people who really don’t honor our heritage — whether you agree or disagree. That also has you also not giving the honor due for people who serve, not only in the military but as [council members] do as well,” Smith said. “We need to create an atmosphere that reminds people there are people who have put their lives on the line for us and we should not forget it.
“We are the first county in the State of Ohio to not name a road, but create a circular parkway throughout the county. We said, Preble County has patriotism at their heart. As [the parkway] goes through every major community in Preble County, as you pass the cemeteries, we will have [brochures and a website to show] who was buried there, who served in the military, who was highly awarded or killed in action, and people in the communities who have done memorable things.
“This is just a way to create an opportunity to put in the mind of this generation that there are people who have done wonderful things in our community, they should be honored, and they should not be forgotten.”
He added, the parkway will not change any road names officially in the village. The roads will simply be a part of a larger parkway that will be shown on a map. Every village and city in Preble County will be included in the Preble County Patriotic Parkway.
The parkway will include Washington Street, East Cherry, and then head east. Council unanimously approved a motion to include these streets in the Preble County Patriotic Parkway.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH