Proposal to rename Boulevard after Arthur Ashe is before the Richmond community (again)

RICHMOND, Va. -- A proposal to rename the Boulevard after tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe is before the Richmond community once again.

Ashe, a Richmond native, was a three time grand slam winner - but a proposal to change the Boulevard in his name has fallen through three times in the past.

"Many of the hurdles we've had before, we no longer have," Ashe's nephew David Harris said. As Richmond has continued to grow in diversity and culture, he hopes the time for change has come.

"There's no negative connotation to his name, he was a champion for everything, a champion for people," Harris said.

On Tuesday, Harris will speak at a town hall meeting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in support of the name change.

The museum, along with the Virginia Historical Society and the Scott's Addition business community have all offered support.

But Chris Small, the former president of The Boulevard Association, says changing the name will have a big impact on property and business owners and change a unique street name with a rich history. It's unclear when the issue will be before City Council members.

"We've dealt with this four times in the last 23 years or so," Small said. "Conceivably every single property owner on the street could be against it and they could vote for it, that's just not fair."

Harris hopes that the name change will add value to the Boulevard, not diminish it .

He says the Boulevard connects the city - North and South, bringing people together like his uncle did.

"He would be happy that we've evolved," Harris said.

The town hall meeting will take place from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the VMFA.