Saturday, December 16, 2017
Editorials

Airport name brands Hernando economic push

Hernando County's industrial recruiters can now focus on jobs, rather than jabs, after settling a legal fight over a renamed Hernando County-owned airport.

The airport, which doubles as the centerpiece of the county's economic development efforts, will be known as Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport. The new name is part of a re-branding effort to build geographic recognition for the county that serves as the northern tier of the Tampa metropolitan area.

Commissioners originally rechristened the airport as Brooksville-Tampa Regional Airport, but that met with objections and a lawsuit from Tampa International Airport, which argued the Hernando effort violated TIA's trademarks.

Adding the word "Bay'' helped placate TIA concerns. Under the settlement, Hernando officials acknowledge they don't plan passenger service at their airport and they will include a website disclaimer that the airport is not designated as a reliever for TIA. The county also agrees not to shorten the name of Brooksville Tampa Bay Regional Airport, though, the staff does get to call it "Brooksville Airport'' when answering the phone. With that minutiae ironed out, the county can now utilize the renamed airport and adjoining rail and commerce parks to try to rebuild and diversify the Hernando economy. As part of the effort, the airport debuted an 82-foot-tall, $2.25 million control tower in October and plans a $3 million industrial spec building large enough to house big, narrow-body aircraft during maintenance work. Now, Hernando County can tell people exactly where those assets are located — at a 2,400-acre airport named for Brooksville and the entire Tampa Bay region.

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