Council hears proposal for updated city flag
The Red Oak City Council is considering a new flag design for the community.
At the regular council meeting Aug. 21, the council heard comments from Red Oak High School 11th grade student Peter Richards. Richards said he was compelled to send the design to the city.
“I was browsing for historical context on Red Oak. The current flag we have didn’t seem to representative to me, and it didn’t have any information about it other than what was put on the website. Flags are supposed to be symbolic, without being too straightforward. Having people think about a flag rather than one that just lists a location attracts more curiosity about it, and makes people want to look it up or possibly visit the community from time to time,” Richards explained.
Richards cited the layout of the Des Moines flag as being one that is symbolic of the city.
“The Des Moines flag has three arches representing the three bridges over the Des Moines river, with the river represented by the color blue. The red is a tribute to the American flag. Red Oak’s has the name and a red colored Oak tree. There’s just no information about the meaning, when it was made, or who it came from,” commented Richards.
Richards had a design that incorporated the city’s new slogan, “The Heart of Southwest Iowa.
“This flag, I think, might be more presentable. There’s symbolism you’d have to look up to find out about. The red background represents the plains around Red Oak, which matches the name of the tree. The tree is not red. The white represents the railroad that runs through the south of town. The slogan provides the general idea of where the town is while also claiming the title, and the tree in the southwest corner represents where Red Oak is located. I’d like to have a flag with meaning and representation for our town,” advised Richards.
Another design Richards offered was a World War II tribute flag, which included stars, each representing 10 people, with black stars representing the wounded, white representing the fallen.
“More tributary flags could be made representing other wars. This flag was inspired due to the fact that Red Oak was known for its massive loss per capita in World War II. There were 160 casualties,” commented Richards.
Richards said he was coming before the council to seek some funding to complete the project, as well as to adopt the flag and put it on the website and around town.
“I think it would make us more recognizable, and would be quite different from the other towns around here. Not many other towns nearby even have a flag to my knowledge. The main funding I’m looking at is some sort of fundraising,” Richards said. “I went to CR Graphics and they said they cannot produce the flag. They gave me a number of someone who can do the production and I’ll have a more definite price.”
Councilperson Jeanice Lester gave one option for Richards, although time was limited.
“You could apply for the Hotel/Motel tax dollars. I would go for it, but you’re going to need a quote to submit with the application. You can find the information online, and it’s a 50% match. So if it cost $5,000, you could apply for $2,500,” Lester said. “You could apply for the funding next year, which has a March 1 deadline.”
Councilperson Brian Bills liked the idea and appreciated the presentation, but said that he’d been contacted by a citizen with some concerns.
“They would prefer we not adopt something without getting a buy-in from other stakeholders, I’m assuming the Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association, or other major businesses. I don’t disagree with that, I feel we should have some stakeholder input before we arbitrarily change it. Not that we’re against it. I think it’s a really great idea.”
Bills suggested Richards have a meeting with the Red Oak Rotary or the Red Oak Optimists, or perhaps meet with the Chamber.
The council voiced their support for Richards’ idea, and encouraged him to seek more input. The flag design will be reviewed at a future council meeting.
On the agenda was action on approving the new flag. The action was tabled to a future meeting