More MS news articles for July 2001

Peoria to honor Pryor

July 18, 2001

PEORIA, Ill.—The city of Peoria will begin the process of renaming seven city blocks after comedian Richard Pryor.

The City Council voted 8-3 Tuesday to begin the process, but it will vote again as early as next month to officially rename the seven-block stretch in the south Peoria neighborhood where Pryor grew up. The city will also likely hold a public meeting on the issue.

If the proposal is approved, the city will rename six blocks of Sheridan Road and the first block of Persimmon Street for the comedian.

‘‘I’m prepared to move forward on this—the sooner, the better,’’ Councilwoman Marcella Teplitz said before the vote.

In April the council twice rejected naming streets after Pryor, with some members saying that his history of drug use, womanizing, and profanity-laced comedy routines would reflect badly on the city. Others said the city’s street-renaming policy isn’t defined and other distinguished Peoria natives were being overlooked.

Councilman Clyde Gulley Jr. last week proposed to name a short block of Sheridan Road and a city park after Pryor. But at Tuesday’s meeting, Gulley instead proposed naming the seven blocks after the comedian.

He also presented the council with signatures from 5,000 Peoria residents who supported renaming the six-block stretch of Sheridan Road.

‘‘Throughout Peoria, people want this done,’’ said resident Marc Porch, who is planning a comedy festival and other annual events to honor Pryor. ‘‘It has always been more than a street. It has always been planned as a tourist attraction.’’

The Grammy Award-winning comedian has starred in concert films and comedy movies. He suffered near-fatal burns in a 1980 fire linked to cocaine free-basing. He announced in 1991 that he has the degenerative nerve disease multiple sclerosis and now spends most of his time at home in California.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press