Culminating months of discussion, soul searching and public input, the Fairfax City Council last week approved the new names for 14 City streets originally named in honor of Fairfax’s past association with slavery and the Confederacy. All had been identified for renaming as part of the Connecting Fairfax City For All initiative.
Nine of these streets are in the Mosby Woods community and relate to Col. John Singleton Mosby, a famous Confederate soldier. Following a lengthy public hearing in July, Council voted to change all their names, plus five others within the City limits that also refer to Mosby, as well as to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
“For many years, citizens have voiced concerns about our street names,” explained Councilmember Janice Miller. “It’s unusual to have a neighborhood and its streets named after a war that’s a stain on America. The Confederacy fought to preserve slavery; and at that time, that’s what this area was for. But it’s not who we are today. We need to show through our words, actions and policies that we’ll always be a place for everyone.”
Since July, City staff came up with 14 name replacements. And after discussing them at their Nov. 29 meeting, Councilmembers voted on each name, individually, and eventually adopted them all. However, Councilmembers Joe Harmon and Sang Yi objected to almost every one of them, so most of the votes were 4-2.
Harmon said Council shouldn’t approve the new names then because he didn’t believe the residents of the affected streets had been able to have enough input about them, and Yi agreed.
Yet, when Yi asked, “Has there been any additional feedback from the community since the public hearing?” City Clerk Melanie Zipp replied that the only new comments the City had received came from some residents requesting that Ranger Road be renamed Cardinal Road.
Those who own property on the renamed streets will receive notification from the City, which will work with property owners on the next steps to be taken in the change process. All name changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.
The new names will be as follows:
Lee Highway will have three, different names:
* Fairfax Boulevard (from Kamp Washington east to Fairfax Circle);
* Main Street (from Kamp Washington west to the City boundary line prior to the intersection with Shirley Gate Road): and
* Blenheim Boulevard (from Fairfax Circle north to the City boundary line prior to the intersection with Blake Lane).
Mosby Road will have two, different names:
* Orchard Court (the 10000 block, which connects to Orchard Drive); and
* Grefe Drive (the 9000 block, which connects with Burke Station Parkway).