RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Community activists have disputed the name of Jefferson Davis Highway for years, and questions surrounding the financial backing to make it happen continue to be raised.
A high-ranking city official told 8News a rough cost estimate to replace signage for the highway could run anywhere between $380,000 and $500,000; although those figures combine the expense for the city, state and federal government to make signage alterations.
The Richmond Virginia Branch of the NAACP, and the Jefferson Davis Neighborhood Civic Association once again called for Davis’ name to be stripped from the corridor—an effort they said has been prolonged for eight to 10 years.
“We are here because Jefferson Davis was a traitor, he was a racist, and we want it removed,” JJ Minor said, Richmond NAACP Branch president.
“Not only are we here because of that, I also want to open the door to have public input in reference to what the public would like to see as far as the name being changed too,” Minor added, vying for the name of a prominent African American to be placed on highway signage.
Mayor Levar Stoney has indicated his support that the name of the first and only Confederate president should be scrapped from roadway signs.
Alexandria officials in Northern Virginia voted in 2018 to change Jefferson Davis Highway, ultimately becoming ‘Richmond Highway.’
While Minor believes the City of Richmond should pay for the name change, he said “however, if the city can’t pay for it, then I think that if we can bring some folks together and help fundraise, and make it happen.”
Stoney’s office made note that a roadway name change would have to be presented as a city ordinance, and then be approved by members of City Council–similar to the renaming process of Arthur Ashe Boulevard.