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Hartselle ponders airport name change

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Seeking to make it more a county than municipal airport, the Airport Board is exploring changing the name of Rountree Field.

Chairman Steve Kimbril said the board is talking about changing the name to Hartselle Morgan County Regional Airport.

"This is the only airport in Morgan County, and we're thinking more regional," Kimbril said. "We've got a lot of development coming around in the county, and this may help with funding and recognition."

The council did not sign off on the proposal, but city leaders agreed to let the board investigate making the change.

"I have no problem with it as long as the family didn't donate property for the airport," Council President Kenny Thompson said.

Hartselle named the airport in honor of Asa Rountree, who worked in the state aeronautics division and helped secure federal funding for the airport in the 1960s.

That was when the airport moved from near Crestline Elementary School to its present location.

"What is the proper procedure for changing the name on something that was dedicated in honor of a person?" Councilman Bill Smelser asked.

He did not get an answer.

Kimbril said the Federal Aviation Administration didn't have a problem with the name change. He said the name Rountree Field is not a description of where the airport is located.

"I have no problem looking into this, but we need information on why it was named after him before making a final decision," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

Kimbril said the board is not trying to dishonor Rountree and what he may have done for the airport. He said they were looking for a name that more included the entire county.

"We would like to approach the county commission and ask for some (financial) help," Kimbril said. "But, we need to let people know that we are a regional airport."

The council agreed to investigate the matter further before making a final decision.

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