Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commission chairman offers compromise on airport name

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Commission Chairman Dave Russell says he's ready to compromise on the contentious issue of a new name for Hernando's airport.

A day after standing firm on the initial name change, and risking a costly legal battle with Tampa International Airport, Russell said Friday he would be willing to rename the Hernando facility — for many years known simply as the Hernando County Airport — the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, rather than the Brooksville-Tampa Regional Airport.

He hopes the addition of the word "bay" will be enough to resolve the issue. But that remained unclear Friday evening.

On Thursday, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority voted to spend up to $400,000 to fight Hernando's name change, claiming the use of the words "Tampa airport" would be an attack on Tampa International's brand and a violation of the "Tampa Airport" federal trademark owned by the Hillsborough authority.

The authority, which oversees Tampa International, filed suit in federal court against Hernando County in early November.

Russell said he spent Friday talking to stakeholders about the legal fight, including Hernando County Aviation Authority chairman Gary Schraut, county Administrator Len Sossamon, the county attorney's office and business development manager Michael McHugh, who is in charge of the airport's rebranding efforts.

He also reached out to officials at the Tampa Bay Partnership, noting that no one can argue that Brooksville is not part of the Tampa Bay region. Hernando County also belongs to the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.

Russell said he also had placed a call to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a member of the Hillsborough Aviation Authority board, to ask his opinion. During Thursday's meeting, when the board voted unanimously to spend up to $400,000 to cover trial costs, Buckhorn said of the pending litigation: "It's just ridiculous. I think it's unfortunate we have to do this. But I would agree that we have to protect our brand.''

Russell said he had not heard back from the mayor by late Friday. Tampa International officials did not return repeated calls and emails from the Times seeking comment.

Russell hopes his compromise offer will head off a courtroom confrontation.

"I can't imagine where the Tampa airport is going to lay claim to the entire Tampa Bay region,'' he said. "I think this is a reasonable compromise, and we're going to reach out to them.''

Russell said he would run the idea past Hernando County commissioners during their meeting Tuesday, but he felt confident they would be fine with the compromise because they had even talked about adding "bay" to the name in October.

Hernando's airport needs to be able to take advantage of the Tampa Bay brand, Russell said. He said he hopes Hillsborough officials will consider the compromise when the two sides meet with a mediator next week.

"We have better things to do with our time and our money," Russell said, "than bashing each other over names."

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando commission chairman offers compromise on airport name 01/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.