The ordinance, introduced by Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond and co-signed by 13 other council members, says Massell in 1971 was “instrumental in renaming Atlanta’s airport after former Mayor William B. Hartsfield to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, which later added former Mayor Maynard Jackson’s name in 2003.”
Hartsfield-Jackson General Manager Balram Bheodari asked the city Council transportation committee to hold the measure and delay voting on it, because the airport is working on a broader exhibit to be installed in the underground walkway between Concourses D and E on the history of the airport that would include Massell.
It also notes that Massell helped launch MARTA and “pioneered minority opportunities in city government, appointing the first woman to the Atlanta City Council and the first African Americans as municipal department heads.”
“We want to make sure we honor Sam Massell at the airport,” Bond said.
But Bond and council members Marci Collier Overstreet and Antonio Lewis said they wanted to move the measure forward.
The ordinance “just says that we as a body want to do something special for Sam Massell at the airport,” Overstreet said. “It says that we know it’s something we need to get done.”
Massell “deserves his own space in the airport,” Lewis said.
The measure passed with all five present council committee members voting in favor, and will next go to the full council for approval.
Bheodari said he will consult with the airport’s art department on options available for the art exhibit to honor Massell.