Waco Planning Commission passes honorary street naming of ‘Lester Gibson Way’ for a portion of Washington Ave.

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -The Waco Planning Commission voted to pass the honorary street naming to remember Lester Gibson, a man who dedicated decades of work to the city and county.

Retired McLennan County Commissioner Lester Gibson passed away on June 17. City leaders began searching for a way to honor the monumental role he played in our region. It decided to propose an honorary street naming of a portion of Washington Avenue.

“We found out about it on the day of his death,” Coque Gibson, Lester Gibson’s widow, said. “I thought it was a really good idea to go ahead and have something done because Lester has so many significant contributions in the City of Waco.”

Lester Gibson Way would stretch from University Parks down to 6th Street, running alongside the convention center, city hall, and the McLennan County Courthouse where he worked.

“All of the many wonderful things that he has done for different people all over, we had to work out of those offices,” Coque Gibson said.

As the longest serving county commissioner in McLennan County’s history and one of the founders of the Texas Organization of Black County Commissioners, the list of his accomplishments is described by his colleagues as countless.

“He was such a champion for people who didn’t have champions at the time,” said Patricia “Pat” Chisolm-Miller, McLennan County Commissioner for Precinct 2. “It’s kind of becoming cliche to say he spoke for the voiceless, but he really did.”

In the more than 20 years she worked alongside Gibson, Miller says some of his biggest accomplishments include changing students’ lives with the Cultural Heritage Tour and a resolution that still stands in front of one of the murals in the courthouse.

“It’s a drawing of the courthouse on one side and city hall on the other with a tree in the middle with a hanging noose,” Miller said. “He engaged in what became a seven-year campaign to have a resolution placed in front of that mural. It shows that we are not that community anymore.”

She says the honorary street naming symbolized all that Lester Gibson has done.

“As we flow from Elm Street with the new renovations, as we come across the ‘Bridge of Understanding’, we pass the city hall where he served as a city council person and then we come to the courthouse where he gave 28 years of his life as the longest tenured county commissioner in McLennan County, I think there could be no more of an appropriate place than what they are proposing before the planning commission,” Miller said.

The businesses and homes along Washington Avenue would not be required to change their addresses.