East side section of Austin’s Airport Boulevard may be designated as Richard Overton Memorial Highway

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As Austin continues to mourn the death of WWII veteran Richard Overton, one local state lawmaker has proposed designating the east side of Airport Boulevard as Richard Overton Memorial Highway.

Before Overton, an East Austinite, died on Dec. 27, 2018 at the age of 112 years, 7 months and 16 days, he held honors as the oldest living U.S. WWII veteran and the oldest person living in the country.

On Friday, Feb. 15, state Rep. Sheryl Cole, D-Austin, set out to memorialize Overton when she filed HB 1821, a proposal to designate the nearly 4.5-mile East Austin stretch of Airport Boulevard between IH-35 and Hwy. 183 as Richard Overton Memorial Highway.

“Our community is proud to have known Mr. Overton for such a great length of time, where he could always be found on his porch ready to talk with anyone on their way through,” Cole said. “It was heartening to see the outpouring of love to celebrate this man’s life, and I am proud to do what I can to honor this local legend.”

If passed by the Texas Legislature, the act would not change Airport Boulevard’s name—it is simply a designation, like how a portion of downtown’s 2nd Street is designated Willie Nelson Boulevard. The change would not impact anyone’s address.

If the bill makes it to the governor’s desk and is signed by the end of the legislative session in May, the designation would take effect Sept. 1, 2019, according to a spokesperson from Cole’s office.

The red line represents the section of Airport Boulevard that would receive designation as Richard Overton Memorial Highway, while the green line shows the rest of Airport Boulevard.

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Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
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