The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, as a Committee of a Whole, received a presentation on Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Johnson County Administration Building, Board of County Commissioners hearing room, third floor, Olathe, from county staff and members of the Negro Creek Renaming Committee on a grassroots campaign to possibly change the name of Negro Creek in east-central Johnson County.
The informational presentation provided historical background and research behind the name of the creek, dating back to the 1850s. The county has established an email link for questions/inquiries/name suggestions regarding Negro Creek and a web page, jocogov.org/creek, that includes historical information and research about the creek, maps and photographs and the renaming process.
Watch the meeting online on the Johnson County website, or on Facebook @jocogov.org.
Background: Negro Creek spans approximately 6.5 miles through the cities of Overland Park and Leawood. It is one of six geographic places in five Kansas counties, including Johnson County, and 757 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 explain the lengthy and complicated renaming process.
Changing the name requires community input and public support for the new name, community organizations, city councils in Overland Park and Leawood, the BOCC and state agencies. If a new name is chosen locally, it must be approved by the state of Kansas and then submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a federal agency.
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names 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 federal board.