The city of Springfield has a new official city flag nearly five years after the change was first proposed.
The Springfield Identity Project's proposal was adopted last night by a 7-2 council vote, with council members Angela Romine and Mike Schilling in opposition.. The new flag is scheduled to be raised at city hall on March 1, when the current historic flag will be retired.
“A city’s flag should elicit feelings of civic pride,” said Cora Scott, the city's director of public information and civic engagement, in a news release.
The new flag has three stars representing the city’s connection with nature, entrepreneurial spirit and Ozarks culture, according to the flag’s designers, with a white stripe embodying Route 66 and the Ozarks plateau. It has blue stripes on the top and bottom. It replaces the current flag, adopted in 1938, that has the words "Springfield Missouri," along with red, white and blue stripes and four white stars.
The new flag was hotly contested among some Springfield residents. Among them is Springfield resident Neil Frost, who penned a letter to the editor in Springfield Business Journal stating that more design options and public input should be factored into the process.
He also criticized the city's latest online survey process, saying the program used allowed for multiple votes from the same person.
Scott acknowledged those issues.
“The majority of the most recent public input responses came via the online input form, which was not a scientific, statistically valid randomized survey, and there are inherent pros and cons to this approach,” she said in the release. “It was intentionally wide open with very low barriers to access. Historically, a significant number of people use shared computers, such as library and other public access computers, to provide feedback during the city’s public engagement efforts.
"This was noted to City Council and the public at the outset of this particular engagement effort.”
The latest survey drew 8,863 responses, with 4,528, or 51.1%, in opposition and 4,335, or 48.9%, in support, according to the release. The city additionally received 26 alternate designs, though some were jokes and none were considered viable candidates by council.
The 2017 submission from Springfield Identity Project has been adopted by some area businesses as a symbol of the city. It has been used on merchandise from local businesses, as well.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.