Henrico board agrees to change name of Confederate Hills Recreation Center
The name of Confederate Hills Recreation Center in Henrico County could change within the next week.
The Henrico Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday night by consensus to change the name of the county-owned recreation facility at 302 Lee Ave. to The Springs Recreation Center at the suggestion of Supervisor Tyrone Nelson.
But the board did not discuss an idea to create a civilian police review board. Nelson, who is proposing the creation of the review board, said he wants supervisors to discuss it by July.
The name change and the police review board idea come as protests continue across the nation against systemic racism and police violence in the wake of the death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police.
“Removing the names from buildings does not erase history,” Nelson said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
But Nelson said changing the name does serve as an acknowledgment that slavery was a “heinous part of the past” that has continued to affect the lives of black Americans. “If we want to move forward, we cannot continue to erect and display monuments of hate,” Nelson said.
No vote was taken on the proposal to change the name, but none of the five board members raised any objection.
County Manager John Vithoulkas said the signage on the building could be changed within a week.
Nelson said he heard from several residents that The Springs would be an appropriate name for the facility.
Confederate Hills Recreation Center is housed in a former railroad club that opened in 1925. It has a lawn croquet court, two shuffleboard courts, tennis courts and a pavilion. The recreation center is available for rent for celebrations, meetings and retreats.
The vote to change the name of the center came as all five supervisors made comments at Tuesday’s meeting expressing sadness over Floyd’s death and support for peaceful protests seeking reform.
“I want our Henrico Police Department to know that we appreciate them,” Nelson said.
“Most of our Henrico County police officers have been doing a good job — a great job — representing their communities, but there is a mistrust that you cannot explain away across the country,” he said.
“It is hard when black people can look at the TV screen and see another black person murdered — it is right there.”
In other action, the board:
♦ Approved a rezoning request and provisional use permit on 14 acres on Sadler Road in the Innsbrook Corporate Center for Robinson Development Group Inc. The company wants to build a mixed-use development with up to 700 apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space.
♦ Went into executive session to discuss an unnamed out-of-state company interested in moving its headquarters to Henrico with an associated capital investment and jobs. It also discussed a second business that has operations in Henrico that wants to expand in the county with an associated capital investment and creation of jobs.
♦ Honored County Attorney Joseph P. Rapisarda Jr., who is retiring, effective June 19, after 43 years with the county. Rapisarda, a 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, began working for the county in 1977 and became the county attorney in 1982.