In spite of a radiant autumn weekend that beckoned most residents outdoors, some judges might have already started their task following an organizational session Friday in which the group ironed out a game plan.
Melissa Woody, vice president of the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, who chairs the selection committee’s work and who last week admitted to being “overwhelmed” by the sheer volume of entries, confirmed the panel’s next steps.
At the organizational meeting, panelists were given spreadsheets compiled by a Chamber of Commerce intern that listed all entries except for those that might have trickled in Friday prior to the 5 p.m. deadline. Those suggestions will be added to the panelists’ lists.
Panel members will have until Oct. 11 to pare down the spreadsheet lists to their 10 personal favorites. Judges will e-mail their preferences to Woody who will then compile the reduced list, which could include 90 or fewer selections.
With nine judges on the panel, the maximum number of second-round choices would be 90, but Woody said the number could be less if judges make some of the same selections.
Once the pared-down list has been compiled, Woody will send it out to the judges, who will then pick their five favorites from the smaller list. This will lead to a third-round list of as many as 45 or fewer choices — depending, again, on how many selections have been duplicated.
At that point the panel will reconvene Nov. 1, when some of the most critical work will begin, Woody explained.
“At this point we will want to have some discussion,” she said. Judges will debate a variety of factors related to the suggestions in determining which tell the best story about Cleveland and the heritage of Bradley County, she said.
“We really won’t know what we’ve got until we get down to that final list,” she said.
Even then, judges won’t know how many selections they’ll forward to the Cleveland City Council. It will depend on the quality of the ideas and how many best brand the city’s image.
“Whether it’s one name or five names, we won’t know until then [the end of the Nov. 1 meeting],” Woody stressed. “We’ll just have to wait and see what we’ve got.”
As an ex-officio member of the judging panel, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland told the group in its organizational session he wants a slogan or nickname “... that creates conversation.” He wants it to not only reflect what the city of Cleveland is all about, but to have the power to attract visitors who might never before have visited the area.
Woody hopes the selection panel will have its recommendation by the end of the Nov. 1 meeting. If the choice, or choices, are made by then they will be forwarded to the City Council. Rowland has already confirmed the Council will review the recommendations at its next available meeting once the panel’s work is completed. If judges make their final choices at the Nov. 1 gathering, the Council’s next scheduled session would be Nov. 14.
City Council members will have the final voice on a slogan, whether the judges forward one recommendation or several.
The mayor expressed his appreciation to community residents for their participation in the “What’s In A Name?” contest that launched three months ago.
“I appreciate the interest of so many people,” he told the Cleveland Daily Banner in a previous interview. “I believe that with so much thought put into this, and with so many ideas, that there has to be at least one suggestion that is top-notch and that says it all in one word or just a few words about what our city is.”