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City Council says practical considerations of renaming Confederate-honoring streets needs to be addressed

Forrest Street, named for Nathan Bedford Forrest (image via Google Maps)

For some Alexandrians, the question of renaming streets that currently honor Confederate leaders isn’t “should it change” but “what happens to my address?”

As Alexandria moves through a new renaming process, City Council member Sarah Bagley said the City Council Naming Committee heard from residents at a recent meeting who have practical concerns about how renaming will impact everything from paying bills to getting friends to their house. At a City Council meeting last night, Bagley and other members of the Council provided an update on the street renaming discussion.

“There are people in the community concerned about practical impacts rather than objecting to the idea of a street name changing,” Bagley said. “[They’re asking] ‘what will this mean to my life and my paperwork?'”

Bagley said the city needs to answer those questions sooner rather than later to address community concerns. An FAQ for those living on streets being renamed was slated to be released in December — eight months from now — but Bagley said the Naming Committee agreed that needs to be moved up sooner.

“We want to move that FAQ up so we can focus when we move forward on the substance of the conversation to allay fears early about financial or other impacts to documentation or finding your street online,” Bagley said.

City Council member John Chapman said it’s still too early in the process to start hosting workshops to help those on street names being changed to get their new paperwork in order, but that discussion could come up at future Naming Committee meetings.

“The FAQs will give us an opportunity to flesh that out for people who want to know not only the effect but how to make those changes,” Chapman said. “Next meeting we might be able to jump in on some of that.”

In the meantime, City Council member Alyia Gaskins said the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission is looking through new potential honorees.

“This process will start with the Historic Alexandria Resources Committee,” Gaskins said. “They’re going to prepare a list of individuals worthy of honor and recognition… We got emails from the public asking ‘have you considered individuals with similar names but a better legacy,’ we will consider that as well.”

Photo via Google Maps

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