GREENFIELD — Do you know what Greenfield’s city flag looks like?
If the answer is no, you’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by the mayor’s youth council, a group of Greenfield-Central High School students who advise Greenfield city government, found that most of their peers did not know the city has an official flag.
Now, they want to change that by introducing a new city flag based on designs submitted by students.
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Mayor’s youth council president Conner Kinnaman presented the city council with several options at a recent meeting. The two councils will now work together to decide on a final design.
Shortly after the formation of the mayor’s youth council in 2018, students attended a conference with other such groups from around the state. They learned that the youth council in Franklin had helped redesign the city’s flag, Conner said, and wondered whether Greenfield had a city flag.
They discovered there is a Greenfield flag, although it is not widely used by the city. The design features a shield shape containing four symbols: a corncob representing agriculture; a mortar and pestle representing the local medical/pharmaceutical industry; a book representing the famous poet James Whitcomb Riley; and a rising sun.
“It seemed like a good idea to give it an update,” said Greenfield’s senior planner, Jenna Wertman.
In 2019, the youth council sent out a survey to students at Greenfield-Central High School asking them what the city flag looked like. The group mostly received confusion in response, Conner said.
The youth council wanted to design a more modern flag for Greenfield, and the city council agreed.
“We sent out on a quest, kind of, throughout the high school, and students from various classes turned in what they thought the new flag for the city of Greenfield should look like,” Conner said.
Students in art and social studies classes at the high school submitted approximately 100 designs. Several common elements came up in many of the flag proposals, Conner said: the color green; and representations of agriculture, James Whitcomb Riley, the Pennsy Trail and the intersection of U.S. 40 and State Road 9.
The youth council worked with Wertman to create three final designs. The “9 and 40” design represents the city’s major intersection with a crossroads design, accompanied by the city seal. The “Riley/Pennsy” design features a bust of Riley and a representation of the Pennsy Trail. The “City Seal” design features the seal in the center of a striped background.
Then the youth council surveyed students on which flag design they preferred.
“We got just short of 300 responses, which is a lot for the high school. I can tell you that because I’ve sent out a lot of surveys to those students, and 300 is quite an impressive number,” Conner said.
The “9 and 40” and “City Seal” designs each received 40.1% of the student vote, with the “Riley/Pennsy” design receiving 19.7%. The council also polled students on multiple color options for each of the flags.
Mayor Chuck Fewell said he was impressed that the youth council was able to gather 300 survey responses.
“You’ve had an outstanding response to your surveys,” Fewell said. “We can’t get that.”
The next step will be for the city council to decide which of the flag designs it prefers and to make final design tweaks in collaboration with the youth council. After the final choice is made, Conner said, the students plan to get flags printed and begin offering them to area businesses and schools.