Aldermen to hear plan for new Manchester city flagBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
August 15. 2016 11:17PM
MANCHESTER — City aldermen are scheduled to hear a proposal tonight that looks to enhance Manchester’s marketing efforts, increase economic activity and boost civic pride.
What exactly can achieve those lofty goals? With all apologies to Bob Dylan, the answer could soon be blowing in the wind.
Manchester resident Adam Hlasny will go before the Aldermanic Committee on Administration and Information Systems today at 5:30 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall to pitch his idea for a city-wide effort to design a new flag for the Queen City.
“Right now, it’s just the city seal on a white flag,” said Hlasny. “I think Manchester deserves better.”
Hlasny already has the backing of Board of Mayor and Alderman Chair Pat Long of Ward 3.
“When I first heard the idea I thought, ‘There’s no way this is happening,’” said Long. “Then I met with Adam, I heard what he had to say, and I thought it made complete sense. I think it’s a great idea.”
Manchester’s current flag is a picture of the city’s seal, surrounded by white. The seal includes a crested shield within a circular ring reading “City of Manchester” across the top of the circle, and “incorporated June 1846” across the bottom, both set in golden yellow serif capitals on a black background separated by small suns.
The seal also contains images of local scenery and a human arm brandishing a hammer and the Latin saying “LABOR VINCIT,” which translates to “hard work prevails.”
“Adam asked me if I knew what Manchester’s flag looked like before I ran for alderman, and I have to admit I didn’t know,” said Long. “This is a chance to design something that will be recognized. We won’t change the seal. That’s Manchester’s logo, and it won’t go anywhere. We would only generate a new flag.”
In 2004 the North American Vexillological Association — a group that specializes in the study of flags — conducted an American City Flags Survey, seeking public opinion on 150 U.S. city flag designs. Manchester’s flag ranked 118th out of 150.
Hlasny has already submitted his own design, a flag he says pays respect to Manchester’s rich cultural history.
“The vertical tricolor design is a tribute to Manchester’s French, French-Canadian, and Irish heritage, while brick-colored gears represent the industry and hard work that made and continue to make Manchester great,” said Hlasny. “They each have six teeth, in sum representing Manchester’s 12 wards, working in cooperation to propel the city forward.”
The flag also contains a blue center stripe representing the Merrimack River running through the city, while a green stripe represents the city’s 900-plus acres of parks and green spaces.
Laconia’s flag effort
An effort was launched this summer in Laconia to create a new city flag. A Flag Redesign Committee was formed, and residents are invited to submit designs through Labor Day.
The Laconia Flag Redesign Committee will then review all designs and chose three finalists to present to the Laconia City Council. Council members will choose the winner, who will receive $500 and have their design adopted as the city’s new official flag.
The second-place winner will receive $300, with the third place design receiving $200.
Long said if aldermen support the proposal, he envisions a citywide flag design contest being held in 2017.
“I don’t want this to end up being Pat Long chooses a new flag for Manchester,” said Long. “I want submissions from anyone and everyone, then put together a special committee to look at the designs and narrow them down. I’d like to see the finalists put on a ballot for a vote.”
Hlasny said updating Manchester’s flag could help residents identify the Queen City better and be used to help brand Manchester’s image during major events such as parades and races.
“The elements of a flag, like Chicago’s, is a great example of what a well-designed flag can do,” said Hlasny. “Everyone recognizes it, and it is displayed outside stores all over the city.”