PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The city of Petersburg has renamed Lee Memorial Park, Mayor Sam Parham told 8News on Tuesday, after a recommendation from a former NFL player and Petersburg native.
City officials agreed to change Lee Park, which was named in honor of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, to Petersburg Legends Historical Park. The new name memorializes Petersburg legends.
Ricky Hunley, a former NFL player and a Petersburg native, asked Parham about changing the name and even suggested the new name. 8News spoke with Bill Lawson III, the athletic director for Petersburg High School, about the change.
“To change it to Legends that really means a lot in Petersburg because not just one person came through Petersburg and made it big, we’ve had numerous,” Lawson said. “It really makes a difference. It shows that Petersburg is changing with the times. A lot of people have done some successful things in Petersburg as of late so you need to try to commend them for their efforts.”
Lawson has been part of the school division for 21 years, working as the athletic director for the high school for the last 10 years and formerly as the head basketball coach at Petersburg High School for nine years.
“It’s honoring the past, the present, and the future because we want this park to keep on going on build some more legends,” he added.
Darrin Hill, Petersburg’s 2nd Ward councilman, also addressed the name change on Tuesday.
“If not now then when? I feel very proud of my city,” Hill said. “This is the best time to do it with the racial tension and things of that nature. It gives people hope. All the little kids that come through here can be a legend as well.”