Hen­rico board agrees to change name of Con­fed­er­ate Hills Re­cre­ation Cen­ter

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NEWS - BY JOHN REID BLACKWELL Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch jblack­well@timesdis­patch.com (804) 775-8123

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.


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