A petition to rename the Danville Public Library after former mayor Ruby Archie has been approved by the Danville Memorial Commission. Come mid-January, it will go before the entirety of Danville City Council to be either approved or denied.
The petition passed the commission in a 5 to 1 vote Thursday in favor of sending the recommendation to council. The only vote against the recommendation was Harold Garrison, who stated that he doesn’t believe any buildings, including ones already built, should be named after people.
Commission member Tommy Dodson was absent from the meeting.
“As far as the memorial commission and the petitioners are concerned, we’ve both met our obligations for this,” commission chairman Lee Vogler said.
The last chair of the Memorial Commission was Archie herself.
The sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Archie’s former sorority, said they have already raised more than the $2,500 estimated cost of the signage change, and pledges are still coming in from all over.
“The public response we’ve received since this process began has been tremendous and it’s encouraging to see that the process has played out the way it was intended to, and in the way that it was set up by the City Council Ruby served on in 2001,” Vogler said.
The rest of the money they raise will be used to create a plaque to include biographical information about Archie, said sorority sister Cynthia Polk.
“Our sorority won’t meet until the first Saturday in January, but we have no doubt that we will get a lot more than $2,500,” Polk said.
Anything not used for that used to fund the plaque is likely to be used to start a scholarship in Archie’s name through the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region.
“Based on what I know of her from other people’s stories, it seemed an appropriate recognition of her accomplishments in Danville,” Danville City Manager Ken Larking said.
The initial move to change the library’s name was by Danville resident Renita Townes, who filed an application in October to add Archie’s name to the library. But city ordinance states that the financial responsibility for the new signs for a renamed building falls to the person seeking the change. And Townes did not want to raise the money, so transferred the application to the sorority.
Archie was a member of the sorority for more than 50 years, and served as the Mid-Atlantic regional director for undergraduate and graduate chapters.
“Judging from the amount of money raised so far, with promises of more to come, the community has really come together to do something positive,” Vogler said. “To me, that’s very powerful.”
It will be discussed at Jan. 2 council work session, and then voted on at Jan 16 meeting.
The sign has been designed to fit with what is already on the building to reduce costs. Since the building is in the River District, any sign changes will have to be approved by the River District Design Committee.
Vogler expects it to be approved, when it gets to that point.
“I’m sure she would be elated to see that,” Polk said of the library renaming. “She was an excellent English teacher. She devoted so much time to Danville City Council as the former mayor, and she was on lots and lots of boards here in the city.”