Campaign offers opportunity to name creek

The Best Times Digital Edition

A grassroots campaign to possibly change the name of Negro Creek in east-central Johnson County is gathering steam with plans for community engagement in the months ahead.

Efforts are underway to inform and educate the Johnson County community and residents on the history of the creek’s name, importance of renaming the creek flowing through sections of Overland Park and Leawood and agreement on a new name.

Championed by the Negro Creek Renaming Committee, the campaign includes an email link ([email protected]) for questions/inquiries and a website (jocogov.org/creek) hosted by Johnson County Government.

The website includes historical information and research about Negro Creek, maps and photographs, renaming process and upcoming public engagement opportunities.

The email link will provide the opportunity for residents to submit questions and new name suggestions for Negro Creek. Names will be collected and compiled for consideration. Details on how a new creek name will be selected will be publicly announced when ready.

The small creek is one of six geographic places in five Kansas counties, including Johnson County, and approximately 740 sites in the nation with Negro or a related term in their names.

Johnson County is the first jurisdiction in the state to launch a program to provide details about a creek with Negro in its name and facilitate the lengthy and complicated renaming process.

Changing the name will take time with community input and required support for the new name by the general public, community organizations, two city governments, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners and state agencies.

The proposed new name must then be provided to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a federal agency. The board has the final say on standardizing geographic names in the nation and typically changes a name only if local support for the change is strong.

Once an application for a new name has been submitted, the process can take up to six months for a decision by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.