| Posted: Friday, Mar 15, 2013 03:45 pm
They were mayors, they were friends and both have schools named for them. Now Richard S. Fowler and Neil M. Ross will share one more connection – a road.
With members of both the Fowler and Ross families looking on, Mayor Nolan Crouse announced Friday morning that the city would name its next arterial roads after both men.
When fully built, Fowler Way will connect Villeneuve Road, just east of Ray Gibbon Drive, with St. Albert Trail, north of Walmart. Where Fowler Way crosses St. Albert Trail, it will be known as Neil Ross Road.
“It is my pleasure today today to announce the naming of two significant roads in St. Albert that will be named forever,” said Crouse. “We’re honouring two significant individuals. Equally important, we’re honouring two significant families.”
The city’s street naming policy states that arterial roads, if possible, should be named after mayors of St. Albert. The last road named for a former mayor was LeClair Way.
“I think the city, the community has demonstrated over time a real commitment to ensuring that the history and people who contributed and are a part of that history are not forgotten and are recognized and remembered,” said Doug Ross, one of Ross’ six children. “It adds to building a sense of community and St. Albert as a unique entity in the area.”
Construction of Neil Ross Road will begin later this year on the east side of St. Albert Trail. Fowler Way will require some study before construction begins in either 2014 or 2015.
Fowler, who died last year, served as mayor of St. Albert from 1965 to 1968 and then again from 1980 to 1989. He was also an MLA, the province’s solicitor-general and a provincial court judge.
“It really is an incredible honour,” said Dawne, Fowler’s widow. “I think Dick would have been very pleased although he never asked for recognition. He was always adamant about that but I know it would have meant a great deal. It means a lot.”
Ross was St. Albert’s mayor from 1947 to 1951. Besides his public service, he is also known for his donation of the Virgin Mary statue at the city’s grotto.
Since both Fowler and Ross were friends, their families naturally were as well. In cold winter months, Fowler’s brother Stan drove Ross’ daughter Sheila, wheelchair-bound due to juvenile arthritis, to university. Sheila would go on to teach some of the Fowler children in school while they were growing up.
“It should be clear that Richard Fowler and Neil Ross and Sadie Ross and Vera Fowler were great friends,” said Doug. “The families are gratified and honoured.”