The City of Atlanta and Clayton County are moving toward synergy with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s yet-to-be-opened international terminal, by renaming the road leading to the terminal after former Atlanta mayor, Maynard H. Jackson, Jr.
The international terminal, expected to open next spring, will also bear Jackson’s name, which is already part of the airport’s moniker. Plans are now under way, at the request of airport officials, to change the name of Aviation Boulevard, to Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. Boulevard.
Jackson was Atlanta’s mayor for two terms from 1973 to 1982, and for a third term, from 1990 to 1994. During his first stint as mayor, in the 1970’s, he oversaw a major expansion of the airport. The Atlanta City Council added his last name to the airport’s name, shortly after his death in 2003.
Plans for the new international terminal show Aviation Boulevard will go from Loop Road, to the international terminal, and back to Loop Road. It will essentially be a driveway to, and from, the front doors of the Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. International Terminal.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to change the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal to have the entry road named the same,” Hartsfield-Jackson General Manager Louis Miller told members of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. He later added, “We’d like to get this done prior to the [international terminal’s] opening, so we can get address changes made beforehand.”
Aviation Boulevard is in Clayton County, but the majority of it lies on airport land, which is the property of the City of Atlanta, and, therefore, under the city’s jurisdiction. The small remaining part of the street is in unincorporated Clayton County, and under the county’s authority. Therefore, both the city and the county have to approve the change, according to county officials.
Clayton County commissioners voted 4-1, Tuesday, to rename the county’s portion of the road, which the county’s legal counsel, Jack Hancock, said is approximately one block of the street, beginning at Loop Road and heading westward. Commissioner Michael Edmondson cast the lone vote against renaming the street.
Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said he was not sure when the Atlanta City Council will look at changing the name on its portion of Aviation Boulevard. Despite the name change near the airport, however, the road will continue to be known — east of Loop Road — as Charles W. Grant Parkway.
“The airport is an important asset to Clayton County,” said Bell, who served as Atlanta’s chief of police in the early 1990’s. “I think Atlanta was proper when it renamed the airport, because Mayor Jackson ... certainly put a lot of energy, as did [former Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield], into the development of that airport.
“It is the No. 1 economic generator in our county, and I think it [renaming Aviation Boulevard] is really just the right and decent thing to do.”
Edmondson had raised questions, during the commission’s discussions on the name change, about the costs of replacing signs on roadways in the area to reflect the road’s new moniker. Bell said the airport has agreed, however, to pay all of the costs associated with changing street signs to reflect the road’s new name. “It’s their request,” said the commission chairman, when asked why the airport was paying that cost.
Airport officials distributed information cards on the Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. International Terminal at the Board of Commissioners meeting this week. The new terminal will be 1.2 million square feet in size, and allow the airport to have a 40-gate “international air travel gateway,” according to the information cards.
The cards also show that the terminal will include a new, 12-gate concourse, to be known as “Concourse F,” which will be connected to “Concourse E,” the airport’s existing 28-gate international travel concourse.
The new terminal, which will be located in Clayton County, will also open up an additional entrance, facing Interstate 75, into the airport. The airport only has entrances facing Interstate 85, and Fulton County, at this time.
“The new entry into the airport from Clayton County is going to be great,” Miller told Clayton’s commissioners. “It’s going to do a lot for your economy. It’s going to create a totally new entrance into the airport ... We just think it’s going to be really good for everybody, and it’s something we’re looking forward to.”