Yes, we do have an official “Decatur flag”!
Last week, I wrote in this column that a reader asked me if Decatur has a flag. “If so, what does it look like?” he asked. As I mentioned in the column I really hadn’t thought about it. Thanks to Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, who contacted me after reading the item and indicated that Councilman Patrick McDaniel had paid for a “Decatur flag” that now flies in front of the civic center, along with several other flags.
When I contacted McDaniel, he told me: “I commissoned and paid for a city flag a year and a half ago when I found out that the city did not have a city flag other the old Tree City flag. “I worked with DynaGraphics in creating it using the offical city logo that I worked hard on 17 years ago to get officially adopted by the city council.”
I decided to walk down to the civic center, and a very windy day, and shoot a photo of the flag for today’s column, but I couldn’t find it among the flags that were flapping in the strong wind. McDaniel told me that he thought it was up last week and added that “I had to replace the first flag with another last year because of wind damage.” He said he might have to replace the flag again because of wind damage. When I am able to get a photo of the Decatur flag, I will print it here in the Trib.
• WHILE I’M on the subject of flags and wind damage, while I am pleased that United States flags are flying on the light poles on Franklin and Main streets downtown, I am also a little concerned about their durability to be up 24/7, 365 days a year. I can see several of the flags on Main Street from my office windows and, with the strong winds we’ve been experiencing, they have been taking quite a beating!
Councilman McDaniel expressed the same concerns to me if the flags are left up all year long instead of just on holidays such as Memorial Day, etc. “The wind and sun will fade and damage them if they leave them up all the time,” he indicated to me. “Plus there will be a high cost for the city to constantly be replacing them.” McDaniel also said that “leaving them up all year around loses the impact of them being up just for patriotic holidays.” He added that “I sent a memo to the city manager explaining my view about them being up all year long.”
• SPRUCING UP! A crews is performing repairs on the fountain in Central Park. The work consists of pressure washing to remove the old paint followed by the application of new paint. Once the repairs are complete the fountain will be turned on for the season. Pedestrians are encouraged to keep back from the fountain while the work is ongoing.
Last September I wrote to Interim City Manager Billy Tyus about the terrible appearance of the fountain which had a lot of black gunk on it. I thought the problem was a lack of city personnel to clean the fountain due to budget cuts in recent years.
Tyus wrote back: “I talked with staff and the issue wasn’t related to staff or priorities– we have been taking bids for cleaning and painting the fountain and were awaiting bids. Having said that, the fountain should not ever appear in that condition. The public will start to see some activity on Tuesday at the latest (weather permitting and barring other problems) – we plan to start draining the fountain in preparation for the work. The black color is related to chemicals in the water and a need for cleaning.”
Now, the fountain should look like new when the facelift is completed next month. The fountain was dedicated in 2002. Wow! It’s already 17 years old. What I most remember about the event is that, the night before the dedication, someone threw detergent in the water and we had bubbles in the air behind us. He, or she, also used some kind of a black instrument to write a crude “manifesto” on one of the bowls! So, right after the dedication ceremony the fountain had to be shut down and cleaned up because of the vandalism. Well, the fountain survived and today is used as a background for wedding photos, openings for television newscasts, Facebook and Web pages, etc.
• TREE TIME — The City of Decatur, a 2018 Tree City USA designee for the 37th time, will host its annual Arbor Day tree planting ceremony at 10 a.m., Friday, April 26 at Muffley Elementary School, located at 88 S. Country Club Road in Decatur. City Forester Randy Callison will oversee the ceremony. As indicated in last week’s column, this will be the one tree the City of Decatur will plant this year, due to the elimination of tree planting funds from the city budget, which began a decade ago and has continued every year since then.
Arbor Day, which was first observed in 1872, is observed on the last Friday in April in the United States to celebrate the role of trees in our lives and to promote tree planting. According to the Arbor Day Foundation which oversees the Tree City USA program, the designation is given in honor of a community’s commitment to urban forestry management as evidenced through the meeting of four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day. Visit arborday.org/TreeCityUSA for more information on the program.