City Council to consider memorializing Heather Heyer with honorary street name

Resolution would designate part of Fourth Street ‘Heather Heyer Way’

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The exact location of the proposed memorial sign is at Fourth Street, SE and NE between East Water Street and East Market Street, near the location of Heyer’s death.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

The Charlottesville City Council will consider a proposal Monday to honorarily rename part of Fourth Street on the Downtown Mall after Heather Heyer. Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville resident who worked as a paralegal at the Miller Law Group, was killed on Aug. 12 on near the intersection of Fourth Street and Water Street after a car drove into a crowd of people counter-protesting the Unite the Right rally. 

“Ms. Heyer’s mother has given her support and approval for the honorary designation,” the meeting’s agenda says. “The community has also expressed a desire to honor Ms. Heyer in several ways, and this designation would be in keeping with community spirit.”

Councilor Kristin Szakos said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily that the city has been in contact with Heyer’s family. 

“We have been working closely with Heather Heyer’s family to make sure that this is something they’re comfortable with,” Szakos said. “They think it’s very appropriate and they will be at the meeting.”

The exact location of the proposed memorial sign is at Fourth Street, SE and NE between East Water Street and East Market Street, near the location of Heyer’s death. Szakos said the proposed honorary renaming will not change the official name of Fourth Street. 

“It’s an honorary street naming, which is different from renaming,” Szakos said. “It will still be called Fourth Street, and the Fourth Street sign will stay, but then there will be a little brown sign above it.”

City policy allows for honorarily renaming streets after individuals and events “that have made an important and lasting contribution to the City of Charlottesville or represent a key part of its history.”   

According to the agenda for the Council’s upcoming meeting, “Heather D. Heyer epitomized this provision, as her life was taken prematurely on this street on August 12, for standing up for social justice and racial equality.” 

“Heather’s death was part of a really traumatic event, but it was also showing the consequence of standing up for what’s right sometimes can be really horrible, and to honor her for being part of that effort to stand up for what was right in our community — she’s a really strong example, and something that we should remember and honor,” Szakos said. 

City Council will vote on this proposal Monday night. If the proposal passes, the sign will go up as soon as it can be commissioned. The agenda said the sign will cost $500 and city staff will be responsible for installation and maintenance. 

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