Cedar Park’s new city flag is coming down.
The City Council approved a motion by the mayor to reconsider the flag’s design and take a public vote on it. Council members also approved taking down the new flag at all the city facilities where it has been flying.
The decision came after a backlash from residents unhappy about the new flag after it was unveiled in early December. More than 200 people have posted comments on Facebook about how much they dislike the flag, including the four white X’s running across its center. Others told officials the public should have had a say in its design.
The council voted Thursday to send the 250 flag design entries previously submitted by the public to the city’s Parks Arts and Community Enrichment Board so it could narrow down the submissions. The council also decided to ask the city’s staff to come up with recommendations on a voting process for the public.
“This thing is going to get fixed and done in a way we are going to be proud of,” Council Member Corbin Van Arsdale said.
Mayor Matt Powell said taking a public vote on the flag wasn’t an idea that the council had previously “floated and dismissed.” “It just didn’t come up,” he said. “We missed it and I missed it.”
The community enrichment board will meet the second Monday in February. The meeting is open to the public.
Although Cedar Park’s council chambers were packed Thursday night for a public hearing about the flag, fewer than 10 people made comments. Destiny Nyanik said she didn’t like the flag’s design.
“When I think of Cedar Park I think of trees, not x’s,” she said.
Nyanik said the public should be allowed to vote on the design on various social media, including Facebook, Patch and Nextdoor.
Nyanik also said she had talked to many people who didn’t want to come to the public hearing because they didn’t want to “hurt the feelings” of the artist whose design had been chosen for the flag.
William Miller, another resident who spoke at the public hearing, said he liked the flag and wanted the city to keep it. “If you get rid of it you will only remember the conflict,” he said.
Sharon Wolfe, who has lived in Cedar Park for 40 years, said the parts of Cedar Park history that she would like to see on the flag include the rock quarry that many of the town’s first residents worked in and the cedar posts that the town produced.
Joe Pollard, who submitted a design for the flag and has also criticized on Facebook the design that was chosen, said he was withdrawing his design from the contest. He said the council’s vote Thursday night showed that “social media had an impact.”
Powell said this month that he going was going to suggest to the council that it consider giving people an option to vote on the design they want.
A subcommittee of three council members, including Powell, had selected two finalists out of 250 design entries submitted in April by the public. The design the council chose in September was submitted by resident Catherine Van Arnam.
Arnam has said the white X’s represented some of the city’s history, including the cedar posts that some of the first settlers in the area produced and the barbed wire that strung the posts together.