City to change airport name

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- City officials informally agreed Monday night to change the name of Covington Municipal Airport.

The new name will tentatively be Atlanta-Covington Municipal Airport. City Manager Steve Horton told the council that discussions with a variety of sources, including the Georgia Department of Transportation, indicated that for economic development purposes, the airport's name should include the word Atlanta.

Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello said there are seven airports that use Atlanta in their names. This will put Covington toward the top of the list when aviators search for airports in the Atlanta area, he said. Often, pilots will go to aviation search engines and type in the name of the largest city in the area, he explained.

Mayor Kim Carter was hesitant about the proposed name change.

"I don't want us to jump off too quickly without considering our options because brand is everything," she said. Carter suggested that a committee be formed to make a recommendation on a name.

However, Passariello said Atlanta would have to be the first word in the name so that the airport will be at the top of the list on the search engines. The council consented to have legal counsel draft a resolution for its approval at the April 18 meeting. Following passage of the resolution, the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the name change.

In other news, the council approved the final reading of an ordinance amendment to allow tattoo and body piercing parlors in city limits, in corridor mixed use and light industrial zones. The amendment was the result of an error that omitted such establishments when the zoning ordinance was overhauled in 2008.

The city addressed the error after being contacted by William Wyckoff, owner of Elektryk Inkk Tattoos on U.S. Highway 278, who was recently notified by his landlord that he would have to move and subsequently discovered the use is not allowed under the current ordinance.

At its March 21 meeting, the council told Wyckoff the error would be corrected, but he said he was taking his business to Conyers and stormed out of the meeting. The city now has one tattoo parlor.

Finally, the council approved a bid of $57,015 by Key Curbing and Paving to pave over 15 Norfolk Southern railroad crossings along with the street Jernigans Way. One of the crossings, at Eagle Drive, is a county road and the city will not include that in the paving without reimbursement.

The project will begin in about two weeks. Once the crossings are paved, the council will decide whether to take down the associated stop signs and replace them with signs stating "Tracks out of service" or something similar.