October 4, 2002
0945 IST

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New York streets to be named after September 11 heroes

Som Chivukula in New York

While officials draw up their final plans on what to do with the ground that once bore the World Trade Centre, there is already one plan in place to honour the victims.

Public places and thoroughfares throughout New York City will soon bear the names of the heroes of September 11, according a bill that was signed by Mike Bloomberg, the city's mayor.

"While no actions that we may take can ever adequately convey the appreciation that the entire city has for these heroes, erecting these signs will at least express the city's desire to permanently remember their sacrifices and to rebuild our city in their memory," the mayor said. "Our actions today will show the world that our city and its people will never forget those who were lost on that terrible day."

Eighty-one police officers and civilians will be honoured as the City Council unanimously approved the motion on September 27. There are no Indian Americans whose names will be seen on street signs.

"We hope to make it different than other street signs with a 9/11 reminder," said James Oddo, the minority leader of the City Council.

Earlier this year, families who lost their loved ones in the tragedy approached the City Council with the idea. The City Council votes on the proposal, following which it is sent to the mayor's office for signing. Before September 11, the City Council was frequently presented with proposals for road name changes, which Oddo said became quite frustrating.

But City Council members decided to act swiftly when the latest idea was presented, considering the nature of the tragedy. Excluding the special circumstance, the City Council now votes on renaming streets twice a year.

"September 11 was a unique situation. This was the least we could do to preserve the memories of the victims," Oddo noted. "People will not forget the sacrifices the firefighters and police made."

Oddo, a native of Staten Island, received a dozen requests from his district. Almost all of the families that approached their respective City Council members had their requests fulfilled. Streets that had a special significance for victims will be the ones that will be renamed.

"Family members came to us and said that their loved one grew up in the area and the street holds some importance for them," Oddo said. "It means so much to them and it's our way of offering a small bit of solace."

With 81 streets being renamed in the five boroughs, Oddo said the City Council would likely have another round of streets to bear the names of victims before the end of the year. Families who are interested in the project should submit their requests to their City Council member.

"We've not seen the last of them," Oddo said, adding he plans to introduce a bill early next year that would have a community board deal directly with the specific city board to rename a street or park.

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