By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs City Council heard an idea from an area business owner about a new tagline for the city at the last City Council meeting, and opened up discussion about how to start the process on adopting a new logo. The discussion proved to get a little heated, and inaction on whether they wanted to exercise an option on the tagline “Gateway to the North” seemed to leave some council members and the public frustrated.
Sonya Cronkright, owner of the Hair Craft Company, brought to the City Council information on the tagline “Gateway to the North,” after investigating whether it was trademarked and after talking with Mayor Charlie Watson. “It’s just a tagline—a slogan or phrase that conveys the most important idea. It’s not a logo, it’s not meant to replace Red Flannel Town USA,” she explained to the Council. “But we need a new identity.” She went on to explain why she chose “Gateway to the North” as a possible tagline. “Psychologically, it (the north) starts here. It’s the last stop for a while for food, gas, etc. for people on their way up north. I think it’s a landmark identity we could build on. I love this town, I’ve been here a long time, and I’m just trying to help the town and get the community to move forward,” she said.
Cronkright explained that she had spent her own money to hold the tagline from being trademarked for a limited time. And that all the Council needed to do if they wanted to consider it was to show somehow they were using it—such as on a business card. But there was only a short period of time that the option would remain open.
When discussion of a new city logo (graphic) came up, Councilor Pat Capek said she felt the tagline and logo should complement each other, and that they could decide the tagline and give the public the option to create and vote on a logo—possibly through the Post. Others felt only city residents should vote.
Some Council members wanted to secure the option of Gateway to the North to start the process, while others were opposed.
“I don’t see any problem with at least securing it,” said Councilor Neil Gomez. He said he’d be willing to put it on business cards.
Mayor Charlie Watson said he’d like to see Neil do that, because he would hate to later see it was their best option. He also said he felt it was a starting point, and that they could always go with something else if they didn’t like it.
Pam Conley said she was uncomfortable with that. “I think I’ve seen that somewhere,” she explained. “I want Cedar Springs to have something original.”
Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl was also against adopting it. “I appreciate all the work she (Sonya) put into this. But I’m a little irritated that I’m being pushed to make a decision. The timeline isn’t my problem. We hadn’t even asked for input,” she remarked.
Gomez said they had experienced a lot of personal attacks on Facebook, and now they couldn’t seem to make a decision. “Maybe we need to man up, “ he remarked.
Conley appeared upset by that remark. “Just because I feel uncomfortable making a decision I need to man up?” she responded.
In the end, the Council asked new City Manager Thad Taylor to come up with a process for deciding on a new logo/tagline and bring it back to the Council in October.
Gateway to the North is a phrase that has been used by Clare County in mid-Michigan, and St. Ignace, in the Upper Peninsula.