A volunteer group says a new flag for the city of Springfield will create pride among citizens and reflect local traditions.
John McQueary, co-owner and co-founder of Hotel Vandivort, headed the new flag project as part of the Springfield Identity Project.
“We are doing this because we feel like the current Springfield flag does not do our city justice, it’s not specific to our city, and it doesn’t speak to its unique identity and history.”
That flag was adopted in 1938. It’s similar to the St. Louis flag that existed during that time, with horizontal bars of blue, white, and red, four white stars in the corners, and “Springfield” written in the white bar.
McQueary says the mission right now is to get its message out to the masses and allow people to connect with the new flag. Its colors are baby blue, navy blue and white. According to McQueary, various sections depict different parts of Springfield’s heritage.
“The core element of the flag we’ve coined the Compass Crown, so the dark blue eight pointed star or compass rose, represents Springfield historic role as a crossroads of the nation, and the inset crown pays homage to our moniker, the Queen city of the Ozarks.”
The white, horizontal bar across the flag represents the Ozark Plateau, where Springfield is situated geographically, and the city’s designation as the birthplace of the Route 66 name.
The three stars arched across the top represent, says McqQueary, are three key ideas that make up the history and identity of Springfield: Connection with the outdoors, spirit of innovation, and culture of the Ozarks.
Springfield City Manager Greg Burris says he’s pleased that local citizens took up this initiative to increase city pride.
“The fact that they just went out, and a bunch of really talented people decided they were just going to design a flag independently, I love that, because I think it shows just exceptional civic engagement.”
As of now, the Springfield Identity Project is not pushing for the flag to be adopted by the city, however McQueary does say that could eventually become their plan.
A council member would need to sponsor a bill in order to bring the issue before City Council. Burris says if the group goes that route, they’ll need to convince some who feel a strong connection to the current flag.
There would be some people in the public who would say what’s wrong with our old flag, and you would have to defend change.”
Burris added that from this process other parties may want to design their own flag, in which case it could turn into a lengthy process.
“In the meantime, it could be an informal city flag, and I think it will have a life of its own.”
That’s already true in some cases. There’s a mural of the flag painted inside the Coffee Ethic, and flag-related merchandise that can be purchased at three local retailers, says McQueary.
“We have hats, and t-shirts, and flags...and just a lot of ways for people to express themselves with the new design if it connects with them.”
Profits are split between the local retailer and a fund that will purchase new flags for the city if officially adopted.
McQueary says that the ultimate goal is to create a symbol to spark pride for Springfield citizens, and if it connects with enough people they will explore making it an official symbol of the city.
“The most important thing to us is to give locals a symbol that they can attach to the city that they love, that’s the goal.”