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Fayetteville City Council votes to rename Archibald Yell Blvd.

Fayetteville’s City Council heard a lot of feedback on renaming Archibald Yell Boulevard and voted to rename it, but there’s a reason behind the decision.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — As of now, the street is named in honor of former Arkansas Governor Archibald Yell Blvd. but citizens have been requesting to rename the street for years because he owned slaves.

“With my commitment to making sure that everyone in Fayetteville feels affirmed, welcomed, feels included. I feel that this is the right time because it’s very conducive to Fayetteville’s character and Fayetteville’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said City Council member D’Andre Jones.

But residents say there’s the history behind when and where the street was built in the 1950s.

“In terms of trying to desegregate central high school and this was basically Fayetteville’s first bypass, and this was a time when community planners used roads to separate black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods…and Archibald Yell Blvd does that,” said Sarah Marsh.

The current resolution would rename the road in honor of Nelson Hackett, an enslaved man who once fled from Fayetteville to Canada. Fayetteville City Council member Jones says now is the time to honor him.

“And preserving his memory, his legacy, and really upholding the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion because we know representation matters,” Jones said.

In the meeting, the only concerns with the update were the process and how long would it take to change the mailing address for businesses along it.

Long range planning and special projects manager said "There was an ask for an economic impact study to be done first specifically for the businesses that might be affected and asked for additional public input and asked for the city to pay business costs for the changes to the name."

But council member D'Andre Jones says none of that has to be done to change the name of the street. 

The new name will go into effect on Juneteenth of 2023 those businesses will have a year to change their address and an additional six months if needed.

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