Still time to submit designs for Monona banner contest

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Monona’s visioning committee, along with Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc., is sponsoring a contest to choose designs for the city’s new street banners. Like this example from Stewartville, Minn., the banners will be made of metal. Monona’s banners will be painted a solid color, though.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

There’s still time to submit designs for Monona’s new street banners. The city’s visioning committee, along with Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc. (MCED), is sponsoring a contest that encourages residents of all ages to develop imagery they feel represents Monona.

“It can be pretty simple,” said MCED Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson, who explained the design must be in a stenciled, easy-to-cut-out form. “It could be a large butterfly or a tractor to represent the agricultural community around us. Look at how we’ve expanded trails and recreation in Monona.”

The design must fit a 36- by 22-inch canvass and leave 1.5 inches of blank border at the edges. It may be drawn in any shape, but the left edge must remain straight for mounting purposes.

For complete contest rules, design specs and design ideas, visit the MCED Facebook page, contact Halvorson at or (563) 539-8340, or stop by the MCED office at 103 W. Center St.

What will be unique about Monona’s street banners, said Halvorson, is that they won’t be made of traditional vinyl, but rather metal. The idea came from the town of Stewartville, Minn., and the visioning committee felt it would be attractive, as well more cost-effective. The banners should also last longer.

“We could have them up there for decades,” she noted. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

The MFL MarMac School District has been a big part of this project. Some students will submit designs for the contest, and those in second semester industrial arts courses will create and cut out the banners themselves using equipment at the school. City councilman Doug Bachman was able to get the metal donated, Halvorson added.

“I love that the school is partnering,” she said. “The teachers have been great to work with.”

Completed designs (along with a cover page and release form) are due to the MCED office by 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29. Students can leave their designs at Mary Winter’s office in the high school. People can submit more than one design if they would like.

The visioning committee will review the submitted designs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8, then select the top six entries. From Nov. 9 to 15, community members will narrow the designs down to four by voting on the MCED Facebook page or by stopping by the MCED office to vote online or cast a paper ballot. The top four winners will be revealed Nov. 19.

Once the metal banners are created, Halvorson said a local body shop will paint each sign one of four solid colors. The banners will be welded with two brackets that will be securely mounted and fitted into the fluted grooves of the city’s downtown streetlights. The city crew will hopefully put the street banners up in spring 2019.

Halvorson envisions one of the student artists driving through downtown Monona with their family years from now.

“They’ll say, ‘Kids, those are my banners up there,’” she remarked. “That’s something to be proud of.”

The new street banners will add to other MCED and visioning committee projects that have enlivened Monona’s downtown, Halvorson said. Flower planters were put out earlier this year; scarecrows were put in the planters this fall, and evergreen will be added in the winter. Building upgrades and additional perpendicular signage have, or will be, completed by business owners as well.

“This is a fun community project that connects us,” she said. “We’re all working hard to build up Monona.”

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