Governments love it when constituents choose to get involved.
This is exactly what has happened with Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland’s summerlong nicknaming contest through which the City Hall leader, the City Council and MainStreet Cleveland are trying to come up with a marketing name badge for our city, one that will engage Bradley County’s total heritage.
It won’t be easy.
Yet, at last count, more than 1,300 ideas had been submitted by some 850 contestants from inside the city limits, outside the municipal perimeter and even from other Tennessee communities and distant states.
All are welcome.
One might ask, “Why would somebody from another state want to enter a Cleveland slogan contest?” It’s a good question, but one whose answer comes with sound reasoning. Often, visitors to our community see a whole new image or perception that we hometown folks might never have considered — even those who have lived here 50 or more years.
Although Tennessee’s longest-tenured mayor, and his fellow councilmen, never really tagged the contest with a name, our newspaper has dubbed it, “What’s in a Name?” Regardless of how or what it is called, the point is Cleveland and Bradley County residents, among others, are stepping up to the challenge.
We have no way of knowing the quality of ideas, their similarities, their differences, their degree of uniqueness or even their final volume, but we know this ... somebody’s got a lot of work to do in selecting a winner.
That somebody is a selection panel of volunteers named by the Cleveland mayor. It will be chaired by Melissa Woody, vice president of the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. To these brave volunteers, we offer only this ... good luck! Whatever their eventual decision, it will go to the full City Council for final review.
The contest, which is seeking to identify a nickname, slogan, motto or general theme for our hometown, launched earlier this summer and is now winding down. We have made it to the final week. Entry deadline is Friday, Sept. 30.
Residents who have already submitted ideas, and who now have thought of more, send them in!
Residents who have thought it over all summer, and who believe they have finally landed the big one or two or three or more, send them in!
Residents who aren’t happy with their ideas, but who just love the chase, send them in!
We have said it before. We will repeat it today. No idea is a bad idea. And participants face no minimum or maximum. Send in your suggestions. But hurry. Only five days remain, and then it’s all in the hands of a handful of panelists.
Over the past two months our newspaper has explored what other cities have done across America with their own slogans in a series of personal “Inkspots” columns published on our Editorial Page. We hope they have been helpful in stimulating creative juices throughout our community.
For any who might need this reminder ... several Cleveland businesses and individuals have stepped up with their checkbooks and hung a carrot stick in front of all sloganeers. The result is a $1,000 cash reward to the winner, as well as the pride — and bragging rights — in knowing that your innovative nickname will become a part of Cleveland’s future.
It’s an exciting campaign, but one that carries another, even more important component: It’s fun!
Don’t delay. Get one last jolt from those thinking caps and submit remaining entries.
Mailed entries may be sent to the Office of the Mayor, Cleveland Municipal Building, 190 Church St. N.E., Cleveland, TN 37311. Entries by email may be sent to email@example.com.