RICHMOND, Va. – A proposal to rename the Boulevard in honor of Richmond native and tennis legend Arthur Ashe, was presented Wednesday morning at the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association meeting.
Among those present at the meeting was Richmond City Councilwoman Kim Gray who supports the renaming of the Boulevard to “Arthur Ashe Boulevard.”
“The Boulevard is known for its sports and entertainment and Arthur Ashe was the premier athlete on the world scene,” said Gray. “I think that having a road named after Arthur Ashe in the City of Richmond is more than appropriate.”
Arthur Ashe, who has a statue on Monument Avenue, is a three-time grand slam winner and the first and only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. He was also widely known as a humanitarian.
“I can’t think of anyone more honorable to name the Boulevard after,” said Gray.
Ashe’s nephew, David Harris, was also in attendance at the morning meeting.
“From a historical standpoint, he’s a Richmond son. He did great things while he was living in support of diversity. Richmond is becoming more diverse and this is a great time to do it,” explained Harris.
Gray said the renaming would be a critical moment in Richmond’s history.
“We can really do something positive and demonstrate on the world scene how much we’ve progressed in recent times,” she added.
Harris agreed with that sentiment.
“Changing the name of the Boulevard to Arthur Ashe Boulevard would give us another opportunity to for the city of Richmond to become more recognizable, especially for those folks coming through the I-95 corridor,” he added.
Gray says so far, the feedback has been very positive to a possible name change, despite some objections in the past due to cost associated with the address change.
“The last time this came up, people were pulling out information about changing stationary. People don’t really have a whole lot of stationary,” said Gray. “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.”
Concerns, objections, and support will be heard at a community meeting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at an undetermined date.
A name change would have to be approved by the Richmond City Council.