Council considers intersection name proposal to honor Tulare Olympians

Tulare council members have updated street naming policy to honor Bob Mathias, Richard Torrez and Sam Iness

TULARE – Members of the community have proposed a name change to the city. The Tulare Avenue and K Street intersection could honor Tulare Olympians over the years: Richard Torrez Jr, Bob Mathias, and Sam Iness.

The name ‘Olympian Square’ is proposed to honor all Tulare’s former Olympians including the most current 2020 silver medalist Olympian Richard Torrez, Jr., a 2017 graduate of Mission Oak High School. Torrez was born and raised here in Tulare; he began his boxing career in 2013 and is now the first American in his weight class to reach the gold medal match since 1988. He plans to continue his boxing career and wants to stay in the Central Valley and give back to the community that raised him.

Also, born and raised here in Tulare, decathlon gold medalist Bob Mathias in 1948 and 1952. Mathias attended Tulare Union High School, where he participated in basketball, football and track. He later returned to his roots and became the first director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Sam Iness was born in Keota, Oklahoma; his family migrated to Tulare, where he attended Tulare Union High School. He was involved in football, track and field along with Mathias. In the summer of 1952, Iness won a gold medal for discus throwing.

As to continue with the intersection name change, there are three requirements noted in the policy to be eligible for recognition: to have performed an exemplary act or achievement of lasting interest to the community, an individual must be a resident or native of the city or particular importance to the city, and if an organization, has been in operation for a minimum of 25 consecutive years and has its base of operations in the city or is particular importance of the city.

After eligible recognitions are approved, a requirement from the city is that a member of the council must be the organization’s sponsor to continue. Councilmember Jose Sigala said although he’s never been a part of Tulare’s history, being the sponsor for this recognition is a fortunate opportunity.

“If the council would be supportive, then I definitely would move forward as the sponsor councilmember.” Sigala said

The estimate presented for signage material is around $600. Mayor Dennis Mederos suggested approaching Chambers as the potential source to fund the intersection since it is located near the Tulare Chambers of Commerce’s office.

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