Salem may rename the bypass that runs from the Beverly-Salem bridge to the city's downtown after the first Salem soldier killed in the Afghan War.
At a City Council meeting last night, Ward 2 Councilor Michael Sosnowski proposed an initiative to call the bypass the Sergeant James Ayube Memorial Bypass, after the Salem-raised soldier who died last month from injuries sustained from a bomb blast in Balkh Province, Afghanistan.
"Literally speaking, it was where [Ayube] played as a kid, it's right behind his family's home," Sosnowski said before the council. "I think think that this is something that we actually all stand behind."
The council was unsure about the official status of the bypass name. About two years ago, the council spent time naming the bypass, said Salem City Clerk Cheryl Lapointe. Although they decided in 2009, to call the bypass the Veterans Riverway, Lapointe was not certain whether the name officially went before the state, she said.
Sosnowski encouraged the council to do anything necessary to name it after Ayube.
"If it's a short process, let's do it," Sosnowski said. "If it's a long process, let's get the ball rolling."
When reached by telephone this morning, Ayube's mother, Christina Ayube, said the family was happy to hear about the initiative.
"We're obviously very pleased about it," Christina Ayube said. "The community has been amazing with all their support they've shown."
Sergeant Ayube, a Salem High School graduate enlisted in the Army in 2007 and served a tour in Iraq before his tour in Afghanistan. The former Boy Scout served as a combat medic.
Councilor at Large Thomas Furey told the council he thought Ayube's name would be fitting for the road.
"I think that that would be a wonderful role model for the city of Salem to have that bypass road named after," Furey said. "I think there's universal support in Salem for that name."
Agreeing with the initiative, Ward 7 Councilor Joseph O'Keefe encouraged the council to make the renaming a speedy process.
"Why dilly and dally?" O'Keefe asked the council. "We're going to name it after that guy who served his country, [and] died serving us."
The council voted to take the matter before the council as a whole on a later date.