The Garden City Commission discussed the possibility of creating a city flag Tuesday, the early processes for which will begin this fall.
The city first began considering a city flag last year, when 11-year-old Matthew Blood approached the commission with the suggestion and sample design. Blood returned to the commission chambers this year after no action had been taken.
On Tuesday, assistant city manager Jennifer Cunningham and city manager intern Sophia Hernandez told the commission that Great Plains MakerSpace held initial meetings about flag designs, discussing potential designs with attendees and ultimately receiving four options. Over two sessions, the organization gathered more than 200 votes to choose a winner.
The commission could decide that day to choose one of the MakerSpace flags or consider its own selection process, Cunningham and Hernandez said.
Hernandez reviewed the City of Manhattan and Hutchinson's recent flag proposal processes. In Manhattan, city staff first surveyed the public to see if they wanted a flag, requested design submissions from the community, formed a committee to select five top designs and held a vote to choose the winner. Hutchinson's process was largely community-led, she said. A committee requested community designs, then its members voted on a winner. Both flags were then formally adopted by the respective city commissions, she said.
Commissioners discussed potential options to move forward, with Commissioner Troy Unruh showing concern that the process might consume too much of city staff's time and Commissioner Roy Cessna suggesting the city consider using the Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, process, which begins this fall. The commission would then review the outcomes of the process at a later date, Cessna said.
Commissioner Lindsay Byrnes said she wanted a city flag but did not think it was the city staff's place to create a selection process.
"I would love for this to take on a life of its own. An outside committee, a conglomeration of businesses and interested parties and maybe a community competition — anything else to get people really invested in it. Because if people aren't invested in a symbol than it's not really going to do the job we want it to do anyway," Byrnes said.
Ultimately, the commission decided to gauge community interest in a flag through the CIP process before moving forward with any new processes. Garden City Public Works director Sam Curran said members of the CIP committee will be asked whether the city should have a flag and how they would rank it as a priority.
To learn more about the city's CIP process, visit www.garden-city.org/CIP or call Jared Smith at 620-276-1160.