Reporter Sara Kennedy was attending a Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority meeting this week when she heard a conversation that a name change might be in order for our fine regional hub. Specifically, airport authority commissioners Jack Rynerson and Paul Sharff broached the idea of replacing "Bradenton" with "Manatee."
The idea didn't sit real well with some folks on this side of the hyphen.
"That's a terrible idea from somebody who doesn't know anything or care anything about marketing,'' responded Larry White, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. "There's no geographical reference to the name 'Manatee.' It's a cute, cuddly animal. People don't know where Manatee is.''
Added Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston: "You don't name things for counties. The airport authority has a lot to work on and changing the name doesn't need to be one of them.''
Our online poll at Bradenton.com generated some brisk traffic, with readers agreeing it was a bad idea. Of the nearly 700 votes cast by noon Friday, 432 (63 percent) said keep 'Bradenton' in the name. There were 107 votes (16 percent) favoring 'Manatee' but nearly as many who said "Drop Sarasota'' (93, or 14 percent).
My favorite comment came from Janet Lovesky, a resident of Sarasota County who lived in Bradenton for 15 years.
"It touches a nerve to me because people turn their nose up at Bradenton since it's not a fancy-schmancy town like Sarasota,'' she said. "It's sinful to drop the name. It's an insult to the people of Bradenton, and those people shouldn't be snubbed.
The airport, after all, sits on our turf.
SRQ President Piccolo downplayed the suggestion, calling it a "brainstorming session'' and stating there are no plans to change the airport name.
We hope that puts the issue to rest.