One of the city’s main arterial roads soon will have a new name.
Richmond City Council voted Monday night to approve an ordinance to rename the Boulevard as Arthur Ashe Boulevard, in honor of the tennis legend and Richmond native.
Council voted 8-0-1 to approve the ordinance. Council members Kim Gray, Cynthia Newbille, Chris Hilbert, Parker Agelasto, Michael Jones, Ellen Robertson, Andreas Addison and Kristen Larson voted in favor. Councilwoman Reva Trammell abstained and said she thinks a bigger gesture needs to be done to honor Arthur Ashe.
Gray first introduced the ordinance in September 2018, and Mayor Levar Stoney later was added as a co-patron. At Monday’s meeting, Jones and Newbille both asked to be added as co-patrons.
“It’s time to honor an incredible leader and incredible athlete of our time,” Newbille said.
Boulevard discussion lasted roughly two hours and drew response from both supporters and opponents of the ordinance. Thirteen residents spoke against the renaming and 39 spoke in favor during the public comment period.
Agelasto and Addison both voiced concerns about the process through which the name change was pushed, with Agelasto citing that it technically doesn’t follow the Virginia code needed to change a street’s name.
“(But) our city’s been paralyzed by inaction for a long time,” Addison said.
Gray said it will take about $30,000 to replace the street signs with the new name, and added that the Richmond Metro Transit Authority and Virginia Department of Transportation will help cover the cost.
It’s unclear when the new signs for Arthur Ashe Boulevard will go up.
Also at Monday’s meeting, council delayed voting on a special-use permit for 106 townhomes that are planned to be built at 1802 Semmes Ave. by local firm Harper & Associates.
Council also delayed a vote on an SUP for a two-building, 224-unit apartment project at 2009 Brook Road near Virginia Union University. The $32 million project, which is being led by local general contractor Loughridge & Company Construction Services, was first announced in the fall. Council has delayed voting on the matter five times.
Council is now scheduled to vote on the townhome and apartment projects at its Feb. 25 and March 11 meetings, respectively.