WICHITA, Kansas – The Wichita City Council acting as the Wichita Airport Authority voted 5-2 to adopt a formal resolution changing the name of Mid-Continent Airport to “Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport” Tuesday.
It did not come without controversy.
Just this week, the Wichita Airport Advisory Board voted 10-1 to not change the name.
“Yes, they voted to keep the old name for now,” said Wichita City Council Member Janet Miller. “With this vote, we recognize a great man of our time who has a worldwide recognition. He was a five-star general and is a president from Kansas. He had a large impact on Wichita, and it’s prosperity today.”
Miller is one of the yes votes.
Council members Jeff Longwell and Jeff Blubaugh voted no.
“In my district about 90-percent of the people were against it, some of them the cost,” explains Blubaugh. “The majority was they specifically liked the name Mid-Continent, or they didn’t see the close enough connection to Eisenhower with Wichita.”
Some asked about the cost.
The Director of Airports for Wichita, Victor White, says the cost will be pushing $270,000 to change the signs on the highways and at the airport.
“Well, $140,000 for the highway signs and about $130,000 for airport specific costs that relate to on-airport types of things,” said White. “That’s very fluid and very high as well, and we think that all of these costs can be managed considerably less.”
Jan Harrison, with a group called Citizens for Eisenhower, says the costs can come down considerably.
“We particularly were encouraged by the information by Mayor Brewer from news from the Secretary of Commerce that the cost for the signs will be mitigated,” says Harrison. “We know for a fact that the original estimate was very high because they anticipated they would want the whole name on the sign which would mean more sign posts. And that’s not the case. There will be no additional sign posts needed because there is no reason to put the entire name on the sign. It can say Eisenhower Airport.”
Harrison says her group also is backing an idea from City Council Member James Clendenin to sell commemorative bricks at the airport. Buy a brick, get your name at the airport.
The name for the new airport terminal will be after one particular Kansan, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.