A petition started by a Pittsburgh man has garnered thousands of signatures in the day since it was created.
No, it’s not about one of the many things it could be about at this unique moment in history. It’s actually a call to change the name of the Pittsburgh International Airport to honor Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame.
The Change.org petition, addressed to the Allegheny County Airport Authority, calls on the body and the city of Pittsburgh “to officially name our airport Fred Rogers International Airport.”
“Pittsburgh’s history is rich with culture from the countless peoples who settled in neighborhoods around town. Fred Rogers, a television pioneer and children’s entertainer, shared Pittsburgh’s sense of community with the world through his PBS show, Mr. [sic] Rogers’ Neighborhood,” petitioner Ian Miller wrote. “Pittsburgh is still an active transit hub and, for many people, our airport will be their first experience in Pittsburgh. We wish to welcome everybody to our neighborhood.”
It had more than 5,000 — yes, three-zero thousand — digital signatures as of 2 p.m. Friday.
So will the Authority actually consider changing the names of its international airport because of an online petition? Bob Kerlik, vice president of media relations, sent over this very nice statement.
We appreciate the interest in the airport and creative ideas from travelers, and we know that Fred Rogers occupies a special place in the hearts of Pittsburghers and people around the world. Because of that, Mr. Rogers is already part of the experience here. We worked with the Fred Rogers Co. to renovate the exhibit dedicated to him at Kidsport in Concourse C. As part of the Kidsport renovation project, we also worked closely with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museums and the Richard King Mellon Foundation to enhance the experience for children. In 2016, we completed a rebranding of the airport to better match the ongoing renaissance of the Pittsburgh region, and at this time our focus is on continuing to advance “Pittsburgh International Airport” as a global aviation leader.
Indeed, Pittsburgh International Airport was named Airport of the Year by Air Transport World magazine this week. It’s been making something of a comeback in recent years as non-stop flights to places you actually want to go are added.