GALLIPOLIS — Supporters of an effort to change the name of Johnson Ridge Road to Polcyn Ridge Road met with Gallia Commissioners Thursday in the Gallia Courthouse to voice their approval of the effort during a public hearing.
“We are here to hear the pros and cons about making that change,” said Gallia Commissioner David Smith. “There’s a process this has to follow. Its been sent to the engineer, advertised in the paper, the proper number of petitioners signed the petition and we are at this point where it falls before the commissioners to make a final decision.”
“I am the petitioner,” said Michael Shannon Polcyn. “We have gathered this morning to discuss changing the name of Johnson Ridge Road to Polcyn Ridge Road. Back in January, my uncle was in the hospital. We’d learned he had a brain tumor. I went to see him and during that visit, out of the blue, he asked me to get our road named changed to Polcyn Ridge. Two days later he died. Two weeks after that my father Mike (Chester) Polcyn passed. I have put forth this petition to honor both Don’s deathbed request and to honor these two great men who proudly served our communities and called the ridge home. In the early 50s, my grandparents bought a 100-acre section of ground in Gallia County on Johnson Ridge. They raised their 13 children there. In the late 60s upon retiring from the Air Force, Donald Polcyn moved his family to a portion of that property. On that property, he raised the majority of his 12 children. In the early 70s, my father bought another piece of property on the ridge and raised his three children there. In the 80s, my father gave a piece of that property to Uncle Danny and he raised his six children there.”
“There have been numerous grandchildren of Don and Mike Polcyn also raised on the ridge,” said Michael. “There are other families who have been on the ridge longer…This petition is not designed to take anything away from there but I am confident to say there have been more Polcyn children raised on Johnson Ridge than any other. Most of you know my father Mike Polcyn who gave greatly to this community through his work as the town Santa…”
Michael noted his Uncle Don and father were veterans among their other feats of service to the community.
“I realize this name change will be an inconvenience to all that live there, myself included, but it’s the right thing to do. We should change the name to honor two great men who gave their lives to Gallia County. It is what we do in America. We name our roads, bridges and parks after heroes,” said Michael.
Commissioners said they had a few letters of rebuttal to the change, although none who were present at the meeting voiced that concern. Michael said he had gone through the Ohio Revised Code in an attempt to educate himself on the name changing process and said that it was possible with “good cause for the change of its name.” He felt there was good cause and nothing detrimental to the “general interest” of the public with the change but admitted it would be inconvenient for others.
Rebecca Meaige, another resident along the road in question, voiced support of the endeavor with her daughter present but abstaining to speak.
Commissioners said they would consider the request but acknowledged that whatever was decided one party would walk away unhappy. They also said they appreciated the years of service to the community the Polcyn family had made to the area. If commissioners rejected the request, they said it was not to insult those years of service, but to also consider the concerns of nearby residents.
No decisions were made at the hearing.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.