The late tennis great Arthur Ashe is being honored with a street name change after the Richmond City Council voted to approve “Arthur Ashe Boulevard”, The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports.
The street will change from simply Boulevard to Arthur Ashe Boulevard and will stretch the length of the current street in Richmond.
Ashe was born in Richmond and the distinction of having a street named after him has been long fought, his nephew David Harris said.
“It allows us to continue to remember what he did, not just the older generation but the younger generation that’s coming also,” Harris said.
“Whatever he chose to say or do Arthur Ashe served all of us with exceeding grace, dignity and honor,” Councilwoman Kim Gray added.
Eight council members voted in favor of the street renaming. Councilwoman Reva Trammell abstained, the Times-Dispatch reports.
Councilwoman Gray had been endorsing the name change after several failed attempts in 1993 and 2003 to honor Ashe, who died in February 1993 from AIDS.
“The last time this came up, people were pulling out information about changing stationary. People don’t really have a whole lot of stationery,” Gray said previously. “If they do, you have up to five years to do a name change with the post office. They will still accept mail at the Boulevard address. So, I don’t know who would be against it I really don’t.”
On Monday, Ashe’s street name change came into fruition.
“I have no objection to the name change, but if Arthur Ashe was alive, I think he’d sooner see the money it will cost to change the name, go back into the school system,” said Jimmy Koontz who owns Boulevard Tire on the Boulevard.
“If they do change the name, is the city going to give all the businesses and residents a tax credit for what it’s going to cost for us to do all the changing of our addresses?”
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney lauded the name change.
“Richmond has a history of excluding people,” the mayor tweeted. “But moving forward, we must design a city that includes the stories of all our people. Tonight, City Council should take the significant step of renaming the Boulevard after native son and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.”