McCarran International Airport near the Las Vegas Strip could be renamed to honor former US Sen. Harry Reid (D) by September, a Clark County Commissioner said.
Commissioner Tick Segerblom, a former state legislator who proposed the name change, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal it could happen within months.
Without trying to predict anything,” Segerblom said, “but by the first of September, we’re going to be Harry Reid Airport.”
Earlier this year, the commission voted unanimously to change the airport name. The airport is at the southeast end of the Strip near the Tropicana, MGM Grand, and other major resorts. Because the airport is in the county outside Las Vegas city limits, it falls under the commission’s jurisdiction.
Segerblom has said private donors will pick up the tab to replace the signage at the airport and make administrative changes. Erik Pappa, Clark County’s director of communications, told Casino.org the estimated cost is $7.2 million.
As of Tuesday, Las Vegas businessman Stephen Cloobeck has contributed $1 million, Pappa told Casino.org. That is the only reported donation so far. Segerblom has tweeted that $3 million in donations have been pledged. He did not identify the contributors who promised the money.
Beginning with Tuesday’s meeting, the commission will receive a report every quarter on donations that have come in, Pappa told Casino.org.
McCarran spokesman Joe Rajchel told the newspaper that work to replace signs at the airport can begin as soon as the county raises $4.2 million.
“When the Clark County commissioners voted on this name change they stipulated that all associated costs must be covered by private funds,” he said. “These monies must be collected and then received in a formal action by the Clark County Commissioners before any work commences.”
FAA Approval Unnecessary
The Federal Aviation Administration is not required to sign off on the name change. However, the FAA must follow through on certain administrative steps, including revising the airport master record, before the name change can go through.
In a letter last month, FAA manager Mike Williams reminded Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County’s director of aviation, that airport security program documents and other material still must be submitted to the federal agency, the newspaper reported.
The airport did not provide a time line for when McCarran officials would complete these tasks.
Other Proposed Airport Names
A former state legislator and lieutenant governor, Reid emerged from a childhood in tiny Searchlight, south of Las Vegas, to become US Senate majority leader. He also served as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
State leaders objected to the airport being named for Pat McCarran, a Nevada Democrat who served in the US Senate from 1932 until his death in 1954. McCarran was supportive of civil aviation and the US Air Force. But he has been criticized for alleged racist and anti-Semitic views.
Others have said that naming the airport after any public official could be a problem if a future County Commission deems that person politically unacceptable.
Some have suggested calling the site Las Vegas International Airport, or naming it for a non-political figure associated with the city. Some of the suggested names include Carole Lombard, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.
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