The public selects new design for Columbia's official city flag
COLUMBIA - The director of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs presented the first official city flag design to The Columbia City Council Monday and council voted 7-0 to adopt the new flag. The city started a contest in fall of 2014 to create an official flag for the city.
"A flag can bring people together, and really shows a sense of pride within one's community," JJ Musgrove, the director of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, said.
The new design incorporates the city logo into it - the city logo is in the center of the flag, which represents Columbia's location in the middle of the state.
"It also has a symbolism in it regarding our nature, trails, parks. Also, when you embrace the other components to nature where we have the river and the creeks and the lakes, it gives a wonderful sense of well-being," Musgrove said.
The City of Columbia already had an unofficial flag, which was designed by former city manager Ray Beck and created by seamstress Alberta Smith in 1988. It was part of a flag exchange with Columbia's sister city in Matto, Japan. The city has used it for ceremonial purposes such as flag exchanges with sister cities, and it was displayed in the old city council chambers.
"The old flag was flown in the old council chamber, but hasn't been used recently," Musgrove said.
Musgrove said the new flag will also be used mostly for ceremonial purposes. He also said the city would fly the new flag at official city buildings.
"If people wish to buy a flag or have a City of Columbia flag, we will investigate that process as far as how do we do that," Musgrove said.
He also said the whole process of selecting an official city flag design is voluntarily and based on community effort without funding.
"What was cool about this particular process was that we have a lot of school children participated as well, and a lot of elementary schools and middle schools," Musgrove said.
He said some of those designed by school children made it to the final 20 but didn't make it to the final three.
"We did a large voting contest and we paired down to 20 and then through working with the Commission of Culture Affairs in the city council, we paired down to a top-three-finalist. And we did a voting on that - both online and in person and diversity celebration through the fall and winter of 2015 and 2016,"Musgrove said.
Musgrove said 424 voters participated in the finalist voting. Jon Sheltmire created the winning design, earning 51 percent of the vote. Sheltmire is currently pursuing a masters in Art Education at the University of Missouri and is a local resident.
Columbia resident Ricky Gurley said he believes an official flag would make the city unique.
"I like the fact that our city has a flag, it makes us feel a little more official and legitimate I think it just kind of help with the City of Columbia's status here in Missouri a little bit,"
Musgrove said the city logo will not change since it's incorporated on the flag.
Editor's note: this story has been updated to reflect the city council's vote.