Adam Bello signs legislation to rename Rochester airport after abolitionist Frederick Douglass


(News 8 WROC file photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced Monday that he signed legislation to change the name of the Greater Rochester International Airport to the Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport. While the renaming is not yet official, this is the first step in a three to six month process to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval.

“Frederick Douglass holds a special place in the history of our community and our nation, and is one of the most prominent people to ever call Monroe County ‘home,'” Bello said in a press release. “I am excited that we have taken the first step in this process as we seek to rebrand our airport, which serves as a gateway to our community for millions of visitors and travelers every year. I appreciate the input of countless Monroe County residents, whose support and dialogue has been an important part of this process. I also want to thank our federal delegation – Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Morelle – for their continued advocacy with the FAA and for their support of this worthwhile initiative.

MORE | Frederick Douglass International: Rochester airport name change authorized by county legislature

Before the airport can officially become the Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport, the airport administration will need to work with the FAA to update official documents and certifications. This process includes:

  • Updating ROC Airport Certification Manual (FAA approved document)
  • Changes made to ROC Vector and Air Traffic Control Maps
  • Changes made to the FAA Grant System
  • Changes to the FAA Form 5010 for Public Use Airports
  • Legal review of airport leases to determine if name changes need to occur
  • FAA to review and approve new Airport Operating Certificate

“For decades, Frederick Douglass called Rochester home as he worked tirelessly for freedom, human rights and fulfillment of the American proclamation that all people are created equal,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer in a press release. “Over a century after his passing, his work and influence continue to guide us today and his impact is woven into the fabric of the Rochester community. It’s fitting that the first thing people will know when they land in Rochester is a reminder of one of its greatest residents and the legacy he inspired. I commend Monroe County on their decision and I am proud to fully support this effort to further honor one of America’s greatest humanitarian and civil rights heroes.”

“I commend County Executive Bello for signing this important legislation to rename Rochester’s airport in tribute to Frederick Douglass,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a press release. “Douglass was a truly influential leader in the fight for human and civil rights and his legacy is deeply treasured across New York and our nation. This effort to honor his legacy will inspire all travelers who come through Rochester and I will continue to work with the FAA to ensure this initiative moves forward.”

“Frederick Douglass is an iconic part of Rochester’s history— and the ideals he championed remain an essential part of our community fabric,” said Rep. Joe Morelle in a press release. “Renaming our airport in his honor is a fitting tribute to a true hometown hero, and a clear statement of our values to all who visit Rochester. I’m grateful to Monroe County for their action to further cement the legacy of Frederick Douglass and inspire us all to continue his tireless pursuit of equality for every American.”

The legislation also authorizes the placement of educational information and materials throughout the airport to allow visitors and travelers to learn about the life, legacy and impact of Frederick Douglass.

The legislators’ proposal followed local activist Richard Glaser’s online petition directed toward Monroe County Executive Adam Bello to change the name of the airport. Bello himself later said he was supportive of the idea.

The celebrated abolitionist lived in Rochester for 25 years and was buried at the historic Mount Hope Cemetery in the city.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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