Springfield residents share opinions on the city’s flag design

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -Various Springfield residents have begun speaking out about a proposed plan to change the city’s flag.  

Those ‘for’ and ‘against’ the new design have until the City Council is expected to vote on January 10th to submit their opinions. 

The City of Springfield has been pushing residents to submit a public opinion on the proposed change through a hotline (417-864-1888), survey, or signing up to speak during City Council meetings.  

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The first reading of the bill took place on December 13th, with several speakers signing up to give their opinion on the issue. 

“I can tell you that Five Pound has sold merchandise to every possible demographic subset you could imagine,” said Ben Thomas, owner of Five Pound Apparel. “Every year we’ve added new products because there’s a clear demand for it … Strong brands are simple recognizable and unique. The proposed flag is all of those things.“

“I absolutely love what it stands for,” added Christopher Upton, another Springfield business owner. “It’s got the symbolism we need as a rallying point to get people together.”

The blue and white design originated with the Springfield Identity Project in 2017. Since council members began discussing the new flag design, there has been some resistance to change, including a Facebook group called “Leave Our Flag Alone.”

“This flag is a joke. It looks like a cartoon character,” said Lisa Meeks in opposition of the new design. “As people said, the blue was boring and dull … Our current flag needs to be revered, not removed, as it is nowhere in the City Council. It’s in the hall in the corner like a shamed child.”

How to address the possible change was discussed at length at recent City Council meetings, with the group ultimately deciding the most fiscally responsible option would be to put it to a City Council vote.   

During a lunch session on Tuesday, December 7th, City leaders said it had looked at putting the issue on the April ballot, but it would cost the City between $100,000 and $200,000. 

Neil Frost / Opposes new flag proposal:  “My contention is that there has been zero public participation into the selection of a design,” said Springfield resident Neil Frost. “The only design the public has been offered in this process has been one single design.”

While some in opposition say they wish more could be done to gauge public interest in the proposed change, others say time has proved the new design’s success. 

John McQueary / Springfield Identity Project: “We also had the opportunity to essentially have a 5-year Beta test, said John McQueary with Springfield Identity Project. “It’s been out in the community. It’s connected.”

Springfield resident Kelly Conower also spoke in favor of the new flag design, saying, “This brilliant blue banner was built of the people, by the people, and for the people, and boy have they responded … The blue banner was sprouting in restaurants, and coffee shops, in bars and brewpubs, in dentist and doctors’ offices, in the windows of MSU dorms.”

Conocer says over the years he realized, “I was watching the most powerful public display of civic engagement in Springfield that I had ever seen in my lifetime.”

City Council is expected to vote on the measure on January 10th, 2022 in order to provide more time for residents to express their opinions.  

For more information on the new design, visit the Springfield Identity Project website.

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