RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A meeting to discuss the proposed renaming of “Boulevard” to “Arthur Ashe Boulevard” is on Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The idea started, among other reasons, after a child did a book report on Arthur Ashe and told his nephew, David Harris, after recognizing him in the back of the book. So, Harris realized Ashe is still relevant to youth in our city and he feels they need a way to connect with his uncle, besides his statue.
Boulevard is the perfect street in Harris’ eyes because it runs from the tennis courts his uncle wasn’t allowed to paly on as a kid at Byrd Park, to the Arthur Ashe Center which may not be around much longer.
“If you want to tear down the building and do something else, expand, redevelop the area,” Harris said. “Can we name the street Arthur Ashe Boulevard?”
Ashe’s nephew introduced the proposal on August 1st at a Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association Meeting, and since then he’s been told nothing but good things, “The reception I’ve gotten has been great, it’s been very favorable.”
However, there have been people reaching out to council members against this renaming. They’re main argument being that changing the street name will affect the property value.
“There’s no precedence for it. I’m hoping it will add value and bring more opportunities for people,” said Harris.
He welcomes anyone to bring their points up, but with a basis around it, “If you feel there’s financial value lost, property value lost, show it to us on paper. That way we can have a further discussion and we can crunch more numbers.”
A Richmond native, Ashe was a champion on the court but Harris says he means much more than that to this city.
“He fought for things that some were not approaching, and he stood for them, he believed in them. So, he was truly a man of the people. And a man for his people also.”