SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The City of Springfield is asking for the public’s opinion on a design that could soon replace the city’s current flag.
At the Springfield City Council meeting on Monday, December 13th, members, and the public will hear the first reading of a bill that would change the city’s flag to a modern design.
If the bill passes, it will be the first time Springfield has changed its flag since 1938.
The City is asking local residents to submit their thoughts on the design, before putting it to a Council vote, which is expected to happen at the meeting on January 10th.
Springfield’s current flag was adopted by City Council in 1938 following an art competition involving local schools.
In 2017, a group called the Springfield Identity Project, made up of local business professionals and headed by John McQueary, created a new design.
The group says it symbolizes:
- Three stars: Innovative Spirit, Connection with Nature, and Ozarks Culture
- White area: the Ozark Plateau and Route 66
- Compass: represents how Springfield has served as the crossroads of the nation
- Crown: represents Springfield’s title as the Queen City
The light and dark blue flag quickly gained popularity. It’s since been displayed on t-shirts, coffee mugs, stickers, and downtown murals.
“What I discovered that I didn’t necessarily expect is that there’s a lot of pride for people that live here, but there weren’t very unique ways for people to express it,” McQueary tells OzarksFirst. “I think it provides that for people.”
McQueary says with the idea came hopes that one day the City would take notice.
“The goal of this flag, and what’s more important is to know that it connects with the community, so we wanted to give it time to do that,” he adds. “We wanted to infuse it into our local culture and identity enough that it felt like a foregone conclusion by the time it was officially voted on.”
During City Council discussions in November, the City presented the results of a survey done in August, which asked for public feedback on whether residents would prefer a new flag.
Of the roughly 4,000 residents who completed the survey, 77% said they were not proud of the city’s current flag, while more than half said they were in favor of the new design.
However, some residents have since begun expressing their wishes to keep Springfield’s current flag for the foreseeable future, as well as voice concerns over who should make the final decision.
Springfield resident Deborah Barker spoke at the Springfield City Council meeting on November 29th, saying in part, “I would like to think that if the city flag is for the citizens of Springfield, they should have a say in it. The traditional flag has been around and has served our city faithfully.” ”
Barker also added, “We love our city flag because it shows we are with the US with the red, white and blue and it also shows that we are a part of this state with the same colors.” … “Not only that, think of the cost that the city would have saved by not changing it.”
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.
Springfield City Manager Jason Gage also assured City Council any other costs associated with replacing the flag would likely be minimal.
“Given it’s the flag, it’s not an issue of logos on vehicles or anything like that, so it’s just simply replacing the flags, I would think. I don’t know what it would be, but it wouldn’t be significant,” Gage stated during the December 7th session.
City Council is expected to vote on the bill on January 10th, 2022. If you are interested in submitting your opinion between now and then, there are several different options to do so.
Citizens may sign up to speak to the issue once at either the Dec. 13 meeting or the Jan. 10 meeting online or by calling 417-864-1651.
Those interested in sharing their feedback may also do so online or via a paper comment form available at Springfield-Greene County Library District branches, Coffee Ethic, Mudhouse, and Hotel Vandivort, or call 417-864-1888 to provide feedback.
Feedback will be taken until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7. Feedback will be provided to council before the vote.
For more information on the new design, visit the Springfield Identity Project website.