RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond City Council voted to rename the Boulevard after tennis player and Richmond native Arthur Ashe during Monday night’s meeting.
“We agree, we want to honor Arthur Ashe the right way while keeping our street named the Boulevard,” Christopher Small said.
The proposal was sponsored by City Councilwoman Kim Gray and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. In the meeting Monday night, there were long lines for people both supporting and against.
“Only 92 percent of the people who responded are opposed to name changing,” opponent Brian Spencer said.
“Mr. Ashe junior took Richmond with him on his hard road to glory,” one supporter said.
This will affect just a little over two miles and cost the city just over $30,000. A cost many people say is needed.
“It’s about time we take a new road and let this intersection lead us forward and let Monument Avenue be our past,” one woman said.
A special moment happened when a longtime friend and tennis partner of Ashe got up to address the crowd about his friend.
“Tonight, we are here because nothing has been done for years,” Ashes’ nephew David Harris Jr. said.
Harris said it’s time the city steps up and honor the legend.
“As a family, we have stayed quiet and we haven’t asked Richmond for much at all. All we ask is that you honor my uncle,” Harris said.
Richmond’s NAACP supporting this change saying it’s long overdue.
“He’s the first black man to ever win three grand slams also the first black man to win titles with the Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon,” Minor said.
It wasn’t just a big talker in the public comment section, but many council members had a lot to say, including District Five Representative Parker Agelasto and Reva Trammel.
Trammel was the only one to abstain during the vote, the other members voted in favor.
“Arthur Ashe is a very important person in both the history of Richmond but black history,” Joseph Rogers said.