City hears request to rename East Crovat St. after LaGrange native

Published 6:25 pm Thursday, August 16, 2018

The contributions to the community of the late Anthony Jerome “Boss” Freeman were discussed by the LaGrange City Council on Tuesday, along with a request that the city rename East Crovat Street in his honor.

Ken Brewer originally approached the City of LaGrange with the request on Aug. 6, and he discussed Freeman’s impact on the community during the council meeting on Tuesday. After some discussion, the council agreed to draft an ordinance that would allow the city to change the name of East and West Crovat Street to Boss Street following a public hearing and council vote.

“The biggest thing is to preserve the community and his name because it is all about purpose,” Brewer said.

“One of the things that I guarantee everyone in this room will ask themselves is, ‘What is your purpose? Why did God put you here?’ [Freeman] was able to figure that out at a very young age.”

Freeman was a LaGrange High School graduate who attended Auburn University starting in 1984. While there, Freeman served as the manager for the Auburn University football team. He graduated with two degrees in 1990 and returned to LaGrange where he cut hair. He played a major role in organizing the West Georgia Superstar Football Camp for years, and he has been recognized as a mentor within the community.

“It was just an amazing job he did when he moved back to LaGrange, cutting kids’ hair so that they wouldn’t go to school and get bullied for free, and always doing all the right things,” Brewer said. “Those people are rare in the community, so when we get those people in our community, we need to make sure that we preserve their legacy.”

East Crovat Street was chosen for the initial proposal because it was the street where Freeman lived for decades.

“He lived there for over 40 years, and I’ve already talked to more than half the people on the street, and they are all on board,” Brewer said.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the request by drafting an ordinance that would allow for the change if it is approved by another vote.

However, several city council members expressed concern over the number of residents that would need to change legal addresses on everything from driver’s licenses to bank statements.

Council members said both in the evening meeting and the work session that they wanted to make sure that residents of the street were aware of the change and OK with filling out the paperwork required for the address change.

“There are 43 homes that are on [East Crovat] Street, so that would impact their addresses,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said during the council’s work session.

“In the past, we’ve called for a public hearing to hear from the residents to get their opinion on changing their address.”

If the street name is changed, it would likely be the most populated street to undergo such a change in recent years. Brewer said that he believed the residents would be agreeable to the change.

However, the council was more cautious.

“In all the time that we’ve been on the council, I don’t know that we’ve ever changed a street name that has affected 43 residences,” Council Member Tom Gore said during the work session.

“We’ve done some things that maybe effected one or two, but that seems excessive.”

Council Member LeGree McCamey expressed concern during the work session for how a road name change could impact the two churches on the road. According to Kelsey, the residents of the street will be notified by letter of the proposed name change and a sign will be posted to ensure that no one is taken by surprise. There will also be a public hearing where citizens can speak for or against the name change on Aug. 28.

“Street names in LaGrange require an ordinance, so we would have to have an ordinance to be drafted by the city attorney to change the name, and we’d have to have a first reading and a second reading,” LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said during the work session.

Council Member Nathan Gaskin suggested a historic marker instead of a name change in order to recognize Freeman without forcing residents to change their addresses, but Brewer said that the name change would be preferable.

Gaskin also questioned if changing East Crovat Street without changing West Crovat Street would be confusing for directional purposes, and he proposed that if the road is renamed, both East and West Crovat Street take on the name of Boss Street.

The LaGrange City Council will vote on the ordinance to decide on whether to change East and West Crovat Street to Boss Street on Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Ave.