published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Chattanooga mayor eager to fly new flag, seeks quick vote


by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Proposed new Chattanooga flag, top, with existing flag, bottom

Poll
Should Chattanooga change its flag?

The city may adopt a brand-new grand old flag.

Mayor Ron Littlefield said he wants the City Council to approve the new flag as soon as possible. If the council doesn't act fast, he said, the issue could become a center of ongoing debate.

"The more you talk about it, the more divisive and controversial it becomes," Littlefield said.

The new flag is markedly different from the current city flag, which has one star in the middle with dogwood petals surrounding the outside. It looks similar to the Tennessee state flag.

The proposed flag has two green stripes with a blue stripe in the middle and the city seal in the center. The green is supposed to represent the mountains while the blue stripe represents the Tennessee River.

Not everyone agrees the flag should be railroaded through the council.

When the proposed flag was shown Tuesday, Councilman AndraƩ McGary said he wants public input.

Councilwoman Deborah Scott suggested the two flags be given to the Hamilton County Department of Education so schoolchildren can vote on which they like best.

"It was a spur of the moment thing I thought would be fun," she said.

The flag's designer said Thursday he thought the only thing that needed to be decided is what shade of green or blue. David Crockett, former city councilman and former director of the city's Office of Sustainability, designed the flag in the late 1990s while he was on council.

"I've been trying to get this thing done for 15 years," he said.

In 2001, he almost pushed it through the council, he said, but a city election was coming up and the council decided to let the next council approve it. It never came back up, he said.

Now Littlefield wants to take care of the unfinished business. He gets comments from people mistaking the current flag for the Tennessee flag, he said.

"We need a flag that is easily distinguishable from the state flag," he said.

Councilwoman Pam Ladd likes the design of the proposed flag.

"I don't see a reason not to go ahead and pass it through," she said.

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