Akron General Medical Center soon will turn 100, and the hospital has made a birthday request: its own street.
AGMC has asked the city to rename Wabash Avenue, the street that cuts through its campus, as Akron General Avenue to mark its upcoming centennial.
The Akron Planning Commission will take up the request at its meeting today. The change also would require City Council approval. The city’s Planning Department favors the renaming.
“They’ve been a good corporate citizen and a good agent for this community, so we don’t mind supporting what they asked us to do,” Planning Director Marco Sommerville said.
The hospital is the only business on Wabash, which runs between West Exchange and Bell streets, so no other companies would be affected.
Councilwoman Margo Sommerville, Marco’s daughter who was appointed to his Ward 3 seat when he became planning director, also supports the change, which hospital officials brought to her a few months ago. The hospital, one of three in Akron, is located in her ward.
“It would be a great way to celebrate 100 years of being in business,” she said.
A group of doctors and residents founded AGMC in February 1914 as People’s Hospital. The name change and campus expansion have occurred over time.
City and hospital officials aren’t sure for whom the street originally was named, or whether anyone would be unhappy about the proposal. The street had its present name before the hospital opened.
“If Mr. Wabash comes out of the woodwork, we’ll have to talk to him,” said Thomas L. “Tim” Stover, AGMC’s president and CEO.
Stover said the name change would create an expense for the hospital, with the need to reflect the new address on letterhead and other items, but he said this “won’t be a huge issue.”
Stover said the name change came up as hospital officials were discussing what will be a yearlong celebration of the hospital’s 100th year. He said more details on festivities will be announced soon.
Amy Kilgore, the hospital’s spokeswoman, said the name change and marking of this milestone demonstrate the hospital’s commitment to “another 100 years” in Akron.
“This celebrates where we’ve been and where we’re going,” she said.