Mesa spent its first 122 years without a flag. Today, that is no longer the case.
The Mesa City Council unanimously agreed Monday to adopt the winning design from the Tribune’s Great Mesa Flag Contest as the city’s official flag.
Retired teacher Mary Jean Crider’s blue-and-gold design featuring a flat-topped mesa, sunshine and a saguaro cactus will be kept in the council chambers and used for special events.
"I’m honored and pleased, of course," said Crider, who has lived in Mesa for eight years. "I was really surprised I won the contest. And after I did, I hoped the city would adopt it, but I wasn’t sure that they would."
"It’s thrifty and good looking," Mesa Councilman Rex Griswold said. "I like that."
Last year, Mesa ranked 146th out of 150 U.S. city flags in a North American Vexillological Association survey. Mesa said it did not have an official flag and the submitted "flag" was actually an event banner used at promotional events and trade shows. Mesa was having internal dis- cussions about designing a flag when Tribune columnist Paul Giblin launched the Great Mesa Flag Contest and encouraged readers to submit a design.
The Tribune received 131 entries from residents around the East Valley.
After a national panel of experts from the North American Vexillological Association selected 24 finalists, Tribune readers cast 1,357 ballots, overwhelmingly selecting Crider’s design.
The designs were presented to the City Council on Feb. 7.
After a Feb. 17 discussion, the council allowed the city staff to experiment with Crider’s colors.
Ellen Pence, assistant to the city manager, said the city staff was trying to make the flag’s colors more complementary with Mesa’s turquoise logo, and was making progress, when the city received a 3-by-5-foot flag in the mail with the original colors — and at no cost to the city.
"We just felt like we wanted to . . . go with what we have," Pence said.
If Mesa changed the flag, it would have altered one of the highest-scoring flags in the nation.
The North American Vexillological Association scored Crider’s design at 8.5 after it removed a border from her original proposal — good enough for sixth place in the country.
Mesa’s cost will be about $125, which will pay for an 8-foot pole with top ornament, a stand and tassel. Pence said the city is not planning to produce additional flags.