Plan to re-name Roanoke’s Lee Plaza heads out for community survey

Some concerned not enough people had a chance to give input

ROANOKE, Va. – On Thursday night the board tasked with renaming Lee Plaza, the former home of the Confederate memorial, decided it needs more public feedback.

This comes after it hosted a public comment session on the topic last month.

Roanoke’s Equity and Empowerment Advisory Board met Thursday night to move forward on determining a new name for Lee Plaza.

Vice-Mayor Trish White-Boyd hoped they’d have a recommendation by the end of the meeting.

“We just had the public hearing and most of you remember the conversation or remember the things that we were said so it just makes sense to go ahead and have the conversation,” White-Boyd said.

Some generic names had come forward in the last public hearing, like Star City Plaza or Equity Plaza.

Of the options to name it after a person, Henrietta Lacks took first place.

“Henrietta obviously had a lot of people and the rest of the names that were mentioned only had one or two,” councilman Bill Bestpitch said.

By the end of the meeting, the group agreed it needed more input. They want a public survey to go out to make sure everyone has a voice.

“I do not want to do something quickly and it becomes precedent-setting and people think this is the way we do naming in the future,” board member Bill Lee said.

City Council will take the recommendation and decide what to do with it. There will likely be another public hearing before the council makes the final decision, but the board does need to come up with something.

“They would, they are asking the equity and empowerment advisory board to undergo some process which you have started in order to formulate a recommendation to the council,” Cowell said.

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