Outagamie County committee recommends airport name change to Appleton Airport

The entrance to the Outagamie County Regional Airport is seen, Jan. 31, 2014. (WLUK/Chad Doran)
The entrance to the Outagamie County Regional Airport is seen, Jan. 31, 2014. (WLUK/Chad Doran)

GREENVILLE – The Outagamie County Regional Airport may be well known in our area, but not to visitors, according to a new report.

It recommends changing the name to the Appleton Airport.

Changing the name of the Outagamie County Regional Airport has been discussed before. But some county board members say given today’s global economy, the current name doesn’t help the airport stand out.

“We need to show the community right now that they know where this airport is and therefore the name of the airport doesn’t mean much to them, but nobody else in the country or the world really knows where Outagamie County Regional Airport really is,” said Outagamie County Board Supervisor Tanya Rabec.

The nearly year-long study by a county committee shows changing the name of the airport, which is located in Greenville, to the Appleton Airport would have impacts beyond air travelers.

“I think it just helps us promote the area better and sometimes you just go with your big hook and the big hook happens to be the city of Appleton,” said Pam Seidl, executive director for the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According to the report up to 80 percent of travel through the airport is for business. And some of those travelers stay at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. But General Manager Jay Schumerth says they don’t always take the most direct route.

“Periodically we still hear a guest that flew into Milwaukee and drove up or flew into Green Bay and drove down that they didn’t know Appleton had an airport.”

The name change is meant to make the airport more identifiable for passengers, but some we spoke to say, they’re not sure the change is necessary.

“I don’t think it’s necessary, how many years has it been Outagamie? It’s been a long, long time,” said Dave Campbell of Marinette.

However his wife Johanna says the change will make identifying the airport easier.

“Appleton would be a lot easier to pronounce I think than Outagamie.”

And the change could bring in more than just visitors. But also businesses that might locate in the Fox Valley if only they knew an airport was here.

“The reality is the entire region benefits from that traffic, not just Appleton. So it really is just the locator or the indicator,” said Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce CEO Shannon Full.

“And that just gets people here so they can enjoy the area easier,” said Seidl.

And that would benefit the region as a whole.

The changeover could cost up to $200,000 but won’t involve any taxpayer dollars.

The Outagamie County Board will review the committee’s recommendation on February 11.