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Alexandria wants your help in renaming Jeff Davis Highway

After voting to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway through Alexandria, city planners are using the public's help in finding a new name. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that an Aug. 17 public hearing on the name change has been canceled and that the locations for meetings in September and October have not yet been determined.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — After Alexandria’s city council voted to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in the city, planners are now asking for help to find a new name.

“It’s not that … whatever name gets the most suggestions will win, it’s just a brainstorming process,” said Craig Fifer, spokesman for the City of Alexandria.

Fifer said the City of Alexandria’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway’s survey has already received several hundred name ideas.

So far, the city has seen a wide variety of names according to Fifer. The suggestions include local figures, others are geographic in nature and some suggest extending the names the road takes in other parts of the town, which include Patrick and Henry streets.

Alexandria resident Zach Stern supports the name change because he said the road celebrates a historical figure that he believes shouldn’t be celebrated. Jefferson Davis was the president of Confederate States of America.

Stern said he believes it should be renamed to Alexandria Highway.

“Roads are often named after the destination and I am proud of Alexandria, so it seems like something we can all rally around,” Stern said,

Resident Amanda Curylo said she doesn’t have a name idea, but she recommends another historic name which isn’t “as controversial.”

For others, such as Chet Nagle who has lived in Old Town Alexandria for 36 years, said he still feels the name should stay the same.

“Jefferson Davis was a historical figure in our country and I don’t think that this political correctness movement makes any sense,” Nagle said.

Ideas for what the road should be called will be collected through Sept. 15. There will also be a public hearing on Sept. 25 to gather ideas.

A final board meeting on the decision will be held on Oct. 5.

The locations for the meetings have not yet been determined. An initial public hearing on the name that was scheduled for Aug. 17 has been canceled, the city announced Tuesday.

Fifer said once the advisory group will make its recommendation to the city manager in October, the city manager will then pass that on to city council by the end of the year for a vote.


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