“Civic Pride”: Dowagiac Unveils Official City Flag Design – Leader Publications

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DOWAGIAC – Wave that flag, wave it wide and high.

Dowagiac City Council on Monday approved the design of an official flag for the Town of Dowagiac following a months-long project with input from more than 350 community members and 21 designs submitted. On Tuesday afternoon, the design was unveiled to the public in a ceremony broadcast live at the historic Dowagiac Railroad Depot.

The flag, presented to council members by an economic development subcommittee made up of local artist Paige Behnke and local marketing consultant Eileen Crouse, features a white dogwood flower with a black center on an orange four-star. branches in a blue circle on a green field.

“It’s simple, yet complex in a neat way,” said Crouse, a flag enthusiast who originally brought the idea to Bakeman. “I think it’s going to be great to fly on a flagpole.

Symbolism

After announcing a flag design competition in March, the subcommittee narrowed the number of submitted designs to six on April 26 and sought public feedback on what the final design should look like based on the six finalists.

Elements from several of the six selected finalists were combined for the final design, which was completed by Behnke after reviewing survey responses from 356 residents.

“We found that the citizens of Dowagiac really liked the flag with the dogwood flower, but didn’t choose the deer so much as being the most symbolic and related to the town of Dowagiac,” Crouse said. “We knew dogwood had to be dominant.”

Dowagiac has been recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as the first “Dogwood Tree City USA,” and the trees transform the city’s landscape as spring sets in. In the flag design, the circle in the center of the four petals reflects Dowagiac’s location at the junction of the townships of Silver Creek, Wayne, Pokagon and LaGrange.

Behind the dogwood flower is an orange four-pointed compass star, which was chosen to represent the various people who came to Dowagiac from all directions. Each point of the star represents an important part of Dowagiac’s history and industry – the Michigan Central Railroad, the Colby Mill, the Round Oak Stove Company and Heddon Lures.

“The orange color represents fire,” Crouse said. “Fire is in honor of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi as ‘Keepers of the Fire’, the flame in a furnace as ‘Furnace City’, as well as a nod to the orange Dowagiac Union Schools Chieftain.”

The central elements of the flag are surrounded by a blue circle, representing the Dowagiac River, Dowagiac Creek, Mill Pond and the Great Lakes. The background color was chosen to be green as a symbol of the region’s agricultural roots.

The three main colors – orange, green and blue – also signify the three districts of the city.

Reaction

City council members were enthusiastic about the finished product and unanimously approved the design.

“I think you did a wonderful job,” Mayor Don Lyons said during Monday’s council meeting. “Everyone involved deserves our thanks and appreciation.”

Council member Patrick Bakeman, who oversaw the subcommittee, said he hoped the flag would create a lot of civic pride in the community.

“I know there’s going to be an initial reaction…both good and bad,” he said. “But I think over the years it will really stand the test of time.”

The production of the final design was donated to the Town of Dowagiac free of charge by local artist and competition finalist Sean Kaniuga of SK Design. The free-to-use design – along with a full description of all token elements – will soon be available to the public at cityofdowagiac.com.

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