The Late Cecil Collymore Honored With A Clinton Hill Street Co-Naming

Cecil and Beatrice Colleymore

A former district leader is trying to use the co-naming of a Clinton Hill Street for her father as a springboard back into the political ring but a spokesman for the current Democratic District leader is already calling her on the carpet for it.

Renee Collymore
Renee Collymore

Renee Collymore, the former female Democratic District Leader for the 57th Assembly District (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights) sent out a mass email stating that on July 14 Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign into law that Putnam Avenue between Grand Avenue and Downing Street be named Cecil Collymore Way for her late father.

Both local City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams have been lobbying for months to get the thoroughfare named for her father, who arrived as poor immigrant from the British West Indies. Once here, Cecil, with his wife, Beatrice (Renee’s mother), by his side, worked his entire life to better the area of Clinton Hill,  by way of acquiring land and property, developing real estate, then opening several small businesses to service the entire neighborhood.

“I am in strong support of co-naming part of Putnam Avenue for Cecil Collymore, a community leader who invested his heart and soul into Clinton Hill at a time when few were willing to give the neighborhood a chance. I served as a lieutenant in the 88th Precinct, policing the streets during days when neighbors woke up to gun shots instead of alarm clocks,” said Adams in October 2015 when Community Board 2 refused to recommend the co-naming.

“Cecil Collymore was an anchor during those tough times in Brooklyn’s history, and his work is part of the foundation on which our current success has been built. We should honor the commitment of our borough’s remarkable residents and ensure that history honors their accomplishments. As our borough evolves and our communities change, we must recognize our responsibility as keepers of the full legacy that has made Brooklyn’s bright future possible. Displacing neighborhood pillars from our memory would be a serious mistake, salt in the wound that is the displacement of far too many from communities like Clinton Hill.”

Olanike Alabi
Olanike Alabi

As for Renee, she won the district leadership race in 2012, when current female District Leader Olanike Alabi, stepped down. Two years later, Alabi regained her district leadership seat when she beat Collymore.

“I would like to thank my dad, Cecil Collymore, for teaching me how to invest in and build a neighborhood through service and commitment. On behalf of my family, we extend the highest gratitude imaginable to the Lord for allowing this to happen. This is a victory for the West Indian community, Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, the City of New York and the United States of America,” said Collymore in an emailed statement to KCP.

This September 13, the two women will for the third time go head-to-head for the seat, and Collymore included a link to donate money to her campaign in the email announcement about her father.

Alabi refused comment, but her campaign spokesperson Bruce Maxwell said the timing for the co-naming is not by accident.

“Clearly it’s another desperate attempt designed to bolster the candidacy of Renee Collymore who is  trying to fill a void in her life, hide campaign expenditures while simultaneously trying to save the home she lives in from foreclosure. But similar to 2010 and 2014, voters will see thru it and Collymore should prepare for her third loss,” said Maxwell.

Cumbo said she recommended the street co-naming for Cecil Collymore because street- co-naming legislation only happens twice a year and that happens to fall around primary time.

“The street co-naming and political endorsements are completely separate issues and have absolutely nothing to do with each other,” said Cumbo, adding she hasn’t taken a position at this time, who if anyone, she will support in the district leadership race.

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