LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Loudoun County Supervisors are moving forward with renaming two popular highways because of the history of racism behind the men they were named for.
Harry Bird and John Mosby highways could be renamed once a final decision is made early next year. During a debate over the recommended logistics by county staff, the board voted on a process that would form a 16 member task force to focus on providing input and getting public outreach.
Kelly Griffith, a board meeting participant, said, “The task force would be made up of representatives appointed by the board, as well as other community entities, collect however many names we get submitted, and then we would have to compare those against VDOT criteria. We have a parks and rec criteria that they use for naming their facilities.”
The board directed staff to establish a capital project account for funds in renaming the highways and approve the amendment of the fiscal 2021 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) by authorizing the execution of a budget adjustment to transfer $87,000 from the Capital Project Management project to the newly established capital account in the Capital Projects Fund to fund the highway sign inventory.
John Mosby Highway spans the entire county. It connects with Fauquier County to the west and Fairfax County to the east, with portions weaving in and out of Fauquier County in the Blue Ridge and Dulles Election Districts, the May 18 report reads.
Additionally, Harry Byrd Highway extends across the entire county and connects with Clarke County to the west and Fairfax County to the east and passes through all election districts except for the Dulles District.
Mosby fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, while Byrd served as governor of Virginia and later represented the state in the U.S. Senate, overseeing what was known as the Byrd Machine into the 1960s.
Byrd, a Democrat, and his acolytes across the state strongly opposed integration of Virginia’s public schools. He led the massive resistance campaign in the state against school integration.
He said in his district there are many businesses and residents located along Route 50. He said it is important to consider input from all the stakeholders along the highway.