Mayor wants to name street after Harry Sykes

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2016) - Mayor Jim Gray, with the support of 11th District Councilmember Peggy Henson, plans to ask members of the Urban County Council to pass a resolution renaming Red Mile Place for the late Harry Sykes, Lexington’s first African American city commissioner, mayor pro tem and vice mayor.

“This is a fitting tribute to a man whose leadership and service made Lexington a better place,” Gray said.

“The recognition of Harry Sykes is attributed to the dedication and love that he had for our community,” said Henson, whose District is home to Red Mile Place. The street is located off Red Mile Road, near its intersection with Versailles Road.

Sykes moved to Lexington in 1954 to teach high school mathematics at the original Dunbar High School after playing two seasons with the Harlem Globetrotters. He founded the Lexington chapter of the National Urban League. And he was active in local politics and served in management positions in city government.

Although Sykes passed away in 2012, many of his family members, including his wife, Geraldine, and several of his children and grandchildren live in Lexington, many of them in the First Council District.

“Mr. Sykes was a trail-blazer and I’m proud that I have the honor of standing on the shoulders of people like him,” First District Councilmember James Brown said.

Red Mile Place was chosen as the new “Harry Sykes Way” because it is home to many of the city’s services for young people, including the Family Care Center, Lexington Day Treatment Center and Safety City.

“Lexington Social Services is very proud of the programs and resources offered at what is now our Red Mile Place campus,” said Chris Ford, Lexington Commissioner of Social Services. “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.”

Assuming Council approves the name change, Gray is planning to unveil the new street sign at a ceremony in the near future.

Photo credit:  Michelle Patterson, Lexington Herald-Leader