Mayor Jim Gray wants to rename a street off Red Mile Road in honor of Harry Sykes, a trail-blazing politician in Lexington.
Gray plans to ask the Urban County Council to pass a resolution renaming Red Mile Place in honor of Sykes, Lexington’s first black city commissioner, mayor pro tem and vice mayor. Sykes died in 2012.
Councilwoman Peggy Henson, whose district includes Red Mile Place, said Sykes deserves recognition for his life-long dedication to the city.
“The recognition of Harry Sykes is attributed to the dedication and love that he had for our community,” Henson said.
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Sykes played for two seasons for the Harlem Globetrotters before moving to Lexington to teach math at the original Dunbar High School in 1954. He founded Lexington’s chapter of the National Urban League. He was active in politics and also served in several positions in city government.
Sykes’ wife and several of his children and grandchildren still live in Lexington.
“This is a fitting tribute to a man whose leadership and service made Lexington a better place,” Gray said in a written statement.
Red Mile Place, which is off Red Mile Road near the Versailles Road intersection, was chosen because it is home to many city services for children and young people including the Family Care Center, which provides intensive services to families with young children.
“The legacy of Mr. Harry Sykes serves as an inspiration and illustrates the community’s leadership and good will in support of youth and families,” said Chris Ford, the city’s social service commissioner.
A resolution renaming the street “Harry Sykes Way” is expected to be introduced at Thursday’s Urban County Council meeting. If the resolution gets council approval as expected, Gray is planning to unveil the new street sign at a ceremony in the near future.