Ring Road will now officially be called Calabria Way.
The Kenosha City Council voted Monday evening to rename the roadway connecting the eastern-most ends of 56th and 54th streets.
The change was recommended by several aldermen as a way to recognize’s Kenosha’s Italian heritage.
According to the resolution, principally sponsored by Ald. David Bogdala, the renaming ties into nearby Celebration Place, which features a statue of Christopher Columbus.
The name comes from the Calabria region in Italy where Kenosha’s sister city — Cosenza — is located.
Bogdala said the name change was inspired after visitors from the Calabria region asked him about the significance of the name “Ring Road.”
When Bogdala stated it did not have any significance beyond being shaped like a ring, he decided “that road requires additional significance,” Bogdala said.
Bogdala also said the new name was supported by Kenosha County Supervisor Gabe Nudo, state Rep. Tod Ohnstad and state Secretary of Revenue Peter Barca.
The resolution also prompted a move to rename Fisherman Drive in the same area to “Modo Italiano,” or “Italian Way,” according to Bogdala.
That resolution will be considered at a future meeting.
“I think we’ve captured the entire region and entire country there in multiple phases. I’m proud of the work that we’ve done in order to make this happen today, and I’m very excited to move this forward,” he said.
While Bogdala stated he was excited about the proposed name change, Ald. Jan Michalski was not.
While Michalski said that he loved Italy and that “only a fool would deny that Italian Americans have had a profound positive impact on this country and on Kenosha, in particular,” he took issue with singling out Calabria, stating many Kenoshans come from areas in Italy outside of Calabria.
“We have a precedent in this city,” Michalski said. “We have a beautiful park on the lakefront. It’s not called Bavaria Park; it’s not called Prussia Park. It’s called Wolfenbuttel Park. Why? Because we have a direct relationship with Wolfenbuttel as a sister city in Germany.
“And all the German Americans feel honored by that — even though you go small. We didn’t honor one region above another.”
He stated he’d rather see the city follow the same path and “go small” by naming the roadway “Cosenza Way.”
“By going small, nobody is feeling excluded. Other Italian groups aren’t feeling insulted because one region is exalted above the rest,” he said.
Michalski’s motion to rename the roadway Cosenza Way died without a second.
As far as renaming Fisherman Drive, Ald. Patrick Juliana said three names were proposed: Italia Estrada (Italian Road), Guida Italia (Italian Drive) and Modo Italiano (Italian Way).
“I think ‘Italian Way’ is fitting because that leads into what we did tonight, and also it leads us up to (the Columbus statue). So I’m real happy with what we have here.”
The council voted 13-2 to approve the name change for Ring Road, with Michalski and Ald. Holly Kangas voting against it.