UPDATE: Mayor's office proposes new city flag for Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The question is rhetorical. But Cleveland's Michaela Laney, dining in downtown Chattanooga, gives the honest answer.
"Does Chattanooga have a flag? Not that I know of," she says.
Chattanooga does. It's mounted on a stand in front of the Mayor's Office door at City Hall, the pride of the Scenic City since 1923.
"The problem with this flag," Mayor Ron Littlefield opines, "is that it looks too much like the state flag."
Same color scheme: a blue circle with stats on a red field. Except Chattanooga's flag has one star to Tennessee's three; and two clusters of dogwood blossoms.
"We deserve a flag that is different," Mayor Littlefield says.
Metro Nashville's flag flies on most municipal buildings in the Music City.
Metro Louisville's fleur de lis motif carries over to street banners and the logos emblazoned on police cars and other city vehicles.
But Chattanooga's flag flies ---- where?
Not at the Chattanooga headquarters for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which, in addition to its own flag and Old Glory, flies the flag of every state TVA serves.
"I don't think it makes us any less of a people if we don't fly our own flag," says Chellie Dotson, a Dayton native who waits tables in a downtown Chattanooga restaurant.
"It's kind of in the category of ehhh."
Even City Hall doesn't fly it.
"I am embarrassed to admit I have not paid attention," City Council Chair Pam Ladd says.
Still, she understands the value of branding.
"It's like our logo," she says. "We're getting lots of visitors; tourists, employers coming here from all over the world with their logos. I think it's good we're doing an upgrade."
The 'makeover' has been 'on the table', if not the pole, for more than 15 years.
The creation of former City Council member David Crockett, it places the city seal in the middle of a bar of blue, symbolizing the Tennessee River dividing the north and south sides. Atop and beneath the blue bar, two bars of green.
"Symbolizing the environment," Mayor Littlefield says. "The thing that we're most proud of in Chattanooga is that we recovered from being one of the dirtiest cities in America, the dirtiest in 1969, to one of the cleanest."
"That would be awesome," restaurant server Emma Carter says.
Nevertheless, she would work a walking bridge into the design.
Memphis native, and UTC student Satonya Thomas, believes Chattanooga needs to honor its railroad heritage, with tracks or a Choo-Choo.
"I'd put a heart on it too," she says. "Because in Chattanooga everybody's friendly. It's totally different than in Memphis."
"I'm not interested in opening the design process," Mayor Littlefield says. "Let's finish what we started 15 years ago."
He needs five of nine City Council members to vote 'yes' when the issue comes up again next Tuesday.
"I like what I see, but I'm sensing some sentiment to open it up for more ideas," Ladd says. "We don't want this to get too expensive. I would not favor putting the flag on all our vehicles. We could work that into the design, when it comes time to replace them."
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates as they become available.