Government

Cedar Rapids' new city flag set for June 2020 unveiling

Officials propose timeline for design, voting and reveal

The Cedar Rapids city was designed by Fred Easker, a high school senior in 1962. The flag has been rated among the 10 worst city flags in the nation, according to the North American Vexillological Association Flag Survey. (The Gazette file photo)
The Cedar Rapids city was designed by Fred Easker, a high school senior in 1962. The flag has been rated among the 10 worst city flags in the nation, according to the North American Vexillological Association Flag Survey. (The Gazette file photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids officials have proposed a timeline and process for designing and unveiling a new city flag to replace the current one that’s been cited as one of the nation’s worst municipal flags.

Under the plan, which received a thumbs up from the City Council development committee on Wednesday, public input would drive the process. A new flag could be unveiled for Resident Appreciation Day in June 2020.

“People talk about my generation — ‘How do we get them to stay? How do we get them engaged?’” said Ashley Vanorny, 33, a City Council member who grew up in Cedar Rapids and has remained. “I hope in this process we can build that branding that really makes people take ownership of Cedar Rapids.”

Professional designers — ideally volunteers — are expected to create four to six final design options based on community feedback with a committee of artists and stakeholders to determine the final line up. Public voting would take place next spring, and then the big reveal.

• June 1: Kick off event at Resident Appreciation Day at the Farmers Market.

• June to November: Community engagement.

• November to March 2020: Professional designers will create four to six final designs.

• March to May 2020: Community voting on final designs.

• June 2020: Flag unveiling at 2020 Resident Appreciation Day

The current flag has a white backdrop and depicts industry, urban landscape, corn and churches in a series of scenes, and features the slogan “Proud of yesterday, progressive today, promising tomorrow,” written on a banner in small lettering. The flag is only on display publicly in the City Hall council chambers, city officials have said.

Jefferson High School student Fred Easker created the flag in 1962 after winning a design contest. Reached in February, the now professional artist said he supports efforts to create a new Cedar Rapids flag.

The North American Vexillological Association named the current flag as one of the 10 worst in the country in 2004, and it has stuck ever since.

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City officials say the new flag is intended as a symbol of pride for the community. The Tree of Five Seasons will continue to serve as the official city logo and brand.

Maria Johnson, Cedar Rapids communications division manager who is involved in the effort, said she is not aware of any previous flags in the city’s history. She noted when a new flag is finalized, the city plans to work with a third party to make them available for sale.

“Over the years when this has come up, I and others have heard from citizens with ideas,” Johnson said. “They will be able to give their input and really be able to own the final design.”

She said there would be multiple opportunities to offer ideas and feedback through a variety of platforms.

Vanorny advocated to not conduct the voting on social media to ensure those who vote are from Cedar Rapids.

“I hope we can honor those who live and interact with Cedar Rapids and take social media with a grain of salt ... at least in the voting process,” she said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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