WICHITA, Kan.-- Preliminary cost estimates to change the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport name have created mixed feelings from the community.
"The taxpayer doesn't want their money wasted for foolish things like this," said Dave Bayouth, who was appointed to serve on the Wichita Airport Authority Board.
At the October 7th board meeting, the nine members unanimously voted against a name change.
"There was no financial gain. Nothing gained by a name change, other than being very, very expensive for the taxpayer," said Bayouth.
Preliminary costs estimates show that the Airport Authority would have to pay $127,600 in costs to change new airport marketing material, including logos and trademarks, as well as new airport security identification badges.
"The estimated required expenses to the Airport Authority ($127,600) for making a name change is manageable and not unreasonable," said the Director of Airports Victor White, in a memorandum to the Wichita City Manager.
The most costly item would be the replacement of highway directional signs that are off-airport property. The Kansas Department of Transportation has roughly estimated the cost at approximately $140,000.
In the memo it said that KDOT "have said they will ask for reimbursement by the governing body requesting the change." This will likely be the City of Wichita if KDOT asks for the reimbursement.
"In talking with KDOT, they told me that they gave them a pretty high estimate. 'A very high estimate' were their exact phrase because they weren't sure what the name would be and whether more sign posts would be required and larger signs," said Jan Harrison, chairperson of the Citizens for Eisenhower Airport.
Harrison helped launched a petition that gathered more than 1,600 signatures to change the name to honor former president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"The public's perception of a new airport, needs a new name to really come alive. It needs a heart and soul. Mid-Continent just doesn't provide that," said Harrison. "I happen to love President Eisenhower. He's considered the best post-war president."
On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council approved the formation of a naming advisory committee. In the next two weeks, each of the council members will appoint one person to serve on the committee. Those committee members will present recommendations to the Council.
The final decision on a name change will be the responsibility of the council members.