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Rountree's son doesn't object to name change for Hartselle airport

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The son of the man for whom Hartselle named its municipal airport has told the airport board chairman he does not object to a name change.

"I told him what we wanted to do, and he gave us his blessing," Chairman Steve Kimbril said.

In an effort to be a regional airport, the board is proposing to change Rountree Field to Hartselle Morgan County Regional Airport.

"We want people to know this is not just Hartselle's airport," Kimbril said.

In the 1960s, Hartselle named the airport in honor of Asa Rountree Sr., who led the Alabama Department of Aeronautics from 1936 until 1965. Rountree Sr., who helped secure federal money when Hartselle moved its airport from near Crestline Elementary, died in 1983 in Montgomery.

His son, Asa Rountree Jr., is a Birmingham attorney.

"I talked with him last week and he thought what we were doing was a good idea," Kimbril said.

Kimbril said he explained that Hartselle is grateful for what Rountree did and is not trying to dishonor him.

"We plan to place a plaque at the airport and possibly keep his name somewhere in the airport title," he said.

Council President Kenny Thompson said he's not opposed to the name change as long as the Rountree family didn't donate land for the municipal airport.

Kimbril said the board wants the name change so the entire county will feel like it's their airport. Rountree Field is the only airport in Morgan County. Pryor Field Regional Airport near Decatur is in Limestone County.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he has received no opposition to the change. He has learned that the first Rountree came to Hartselle in the 1870s when Dr. S.L. Rountree opened a medical office.

Dr. Rountree is the grandfather of the Rountree the airport honors. Rountree Jr. never lived in Hartselle.

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