Fort Worth

Fort Worth City Council Votes For Atatiana Jefferson Memorial on I-35W

TxDOT approval is the next step for the proposed memorial on Interstate 35W

NBC 5 News

A stretch of Interstate 35W is one step closer to being named after Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot and killed October 2019 by a Fort Worth police officer.

The Fort Worth City Council voted Tuesday to establish a memorial designation for Jefferson.

"I am deeply humbled to be a part of honoring Atatiana Jefferson's life and legacy," said Chris Nettles, District 8 representative, in a statement. "It means so much to the community and me that Fort Worth took this step in solidifying her incredible impact on our city."

Previously, the city dedicated a stretch of Allen Avenue and Maddox Avenue from Interstate 35W to U.S. 287 as the Atatiana Jefferson Memorial Parkway in 2020.

The newer proposed stretch of roadway to be designated spans from Downtown Fort Worth to South Loop 820, the Texas Department of Transportation said.

In the process of renaming state highways, Fort Worth has a municipal maintenance agreement with TxDOT.

The City Council said it would submit a request to TxDOT, which will then review the request and notify Fort Worth of its decision.

According to a TxDOT report from Aug. 10, Texas transportation code states, "A part of the highway system, including a bridge or street, may be designated by the name of a person only if the person is deceased and he/she was significant: (1) in the state's history; or in the lives of the people of this state."

If the memorial designation is approved, TxDOT said the city would cover expenses.

"Today would not have been possible without the persistence and sacrifice of Mr. James Smith, Atatiana Jefferson's neighbor," Nettles said. "Thank you to all of the community activists who worked to ensure that Atatiana Jefferson's name will never be forgotten."

NBC 5’s Larry Collins sat down with Smith in May to discuss and reflect to talk about the trauma that surrounds police shootings and its grip on those left behind.

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