By meeting’s end, two slogans or nicknames were selected by the panel from an original field of more than 1,800 entries. Both will now be presented to the Cleveland City Council for final selection, according to Melissa Woody, vice president, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
The finalist nicknames, and the identities of those submitting them, will not be released until the City Council’s review, or later, Woody confirmed.
The Chamber representative and long-time civic volunteer chaired the nine-member selection panel which began its work a few weeks ago following the Sept. 30 deadline for entry submissions. All entries were either emailed, mailed or personally delivered to the Municipal Building office of Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland.
The mayor brainstormed the idea of a city slogan earlier this year and presented his proposal to the full City Council and MainStreet Cleveland. Both organizations blessed the idea and threw their full support behind the initiative.
At the MainStreet Cleveland meeting, Rowland even rallied business leaders to commit a $1,000 cash prize which will go to the person who submitted the eventual winning entry.
In explaining the need for a city tag, Rowland said the concept has worked well for cities — large and small — across the country for years. He wants Cleveland to benefit from the same concept.
“Nashville is known as the ‘Music City,’” Rowland said. “New Orleans is the ‘Crescent City.’ When you ask what is the ‘Friendly City,’ everyone knows it is Athens.”
The Cleveland mayor added, “Knoxville is known as the ‘Dogwood City,’ Chattanooga as the ‘Scenic City.’”
These and many others are known as certain “capitals of” or “cities of,” the mayor said during the initial presentation.
The mayor said he envisions the contest as giving the community a “distinctive identification.”
The process began in June after area residents made their submissions through email and letters to the mayor’s office.
First there were 1,800-plus submissions. Each member of the team chose 10 selections and submitted those slogans or nicknames, resulting in 90 to be considered.
Then, after producing a spreadsheet with the 90 selections, the team narrowed the names further.
Each member then chose their top five selections, resulting in the task being cut in half.
Wednesday’s two-hour meeting for team members was set aside with the goal of coming up with one or more final selections.
There was a whole lot of ‘Googling’ going on as two members checked the search engine to see if other cities or towns had already tagged their entities with the 45 selections.
The team arrived at two choices, neither of which was found in the online quest.
“We aren’t sure when we will announce the selection or winner at this time, but we will be giving our results to the City Council for a conclusive choice — and a slogan or nickname which will describe our city,” Woody said.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council is Monday, Nov. 14.