Albion approves changing street name to Riley Place, recognizing prominent Black family

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 October 2020 at 9:25 pm

File photos: A sign in the Riley family’s garden notes the homestead was established in 1960.

ALBION – The Village Board this evening approved changing the name of Braley Street to Riley Place after a request from the Riley family.

The Rileys have the lone house on the dead-end street that is off Moore Street near Butts Road. Their property borders the Erie Canal.

The new name of the road is believed to be a first in Albion where a street is named for a Black family.

Alma and Henry Riley moved there in 1960. They raised nine children at the house. Two of them served as local elected officials with Jeannette Riley on the Albion Village Board and Joyce Riley on the Albion Board of Education (for two different stints).

The Rileys made the request and the Village Board held a public hearing this evening on the matter. No one spoke against the change.

The family was praised for maintaining an elaborate garden that has been featured on local garden tours.

“It is very pretty,” said Mayor Eileen Banker. “You’ve done a beautiful job in that area.”

Jeannette Riley attended the public hearing and her brother Xavier also was available through her phone, Facetiming during the hearing.

Jeannette continues to live at the house with her mother. Jeannette’s father passed away in 1996.

The family has offered to pay any village expenses for replacing the street signs and updating the village code.

The board also approved changing the address for the Riley property from 40 Braley Street to 1960 Riley Place.

Jeannette Riley gives a tour of the property in this file photo from July 2017. The Rileys have hosted garden events through the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener program.

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