Utica honors late Proctor grad with 'Will Smith Way'

A stretch of Armory Drive between Tilden Avenue and Hilton Avenue now bares the name of Proctor grad and former NFL star, Will Smith.

Posted: Dec 11, 2019 11:40 PM
Updated: Dec 12, 2019 11:10 AM

UTICA, N.Y. - A stretch of Armory Drive between Tilden Avenue and Hilton Avenue now bears the name of Proctor grad and former NFL star, Will Smith.

Smith played for Proctor, then at Ohio State, and then for the New Orleans Saints.

Smith was shot and killed in a road rage incident in 2016.

A ceremony was held Wednesday night to honor Smith and unveil Will Smith Way. There are three signs, one blue Uitca sign, a red and black sign with Smith's Proctor number, and a gold and black sign with his Saints number. There is also a plaque with Smith's picture and a tribute to him.

Smith's friends and family were at the ceremony to honor him. Smith's life long friend, Nick Santiago, says he was a hero for the community.

"He's a hero for the kids here who grew up and watched him, me, the coaches, he made it to a level to where a lot of people dream to get to and it was kind of exciting to live through him," Santiago said. "[He] definitely never forgot about Utica, always found his way back, he loved it here, this is where he grew up."

The signs will help continue Smith's legacy in Utica, and it will inspire future generations by reminding them that, "where there's a Will, there's a way."

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