CHATHAM, NJ - Dawn Paruta of the Chatham Public Arts Council has a dream to see a Chatham Borough Flag hanging outside of the municipal building.
On Monday night, she came before the Borough of Chatham Council to propose a flag design contest that would result in an official Chatham Borough Flag. Right now, Paruta pointed out that Chatham Borough only has a crest, not a flag.
"The Public Arts Council is seeking the borough's support in our effort for a Chatham Borough Flag Design Challenge," Paruta said. "Whether you know it or not, Chatham does not have a borough flag. We have a crest, but that's not a flag.
"What we're proposing is a flag design contest open to all residents. The winning design would be selected by a jury of professionals with a variety of backgrounds, who will come together and really represent the borough."
Paruta pointed out that there is a North American Vexillogical Association, which is dedicated to the history and symbolism of flags. Some of the standards for the flag design contest would come from the vexillogical association.
"We would like a thoughtful, well-designed flag, so we would come up with a few guiding principals," Paruta said. "We want to keep it simple and make sure it's meaningful. We would put together a set of guidelines. Once the flag is selected by the jury, we would use PAC funding to have the flag made and get the council's approval and, hopefully, fly it outside on the flagpole. Maybe it could be ready for next year's Fourth of July Parade."
Paruta would like to hold the design contest in August and have the jury select the winner of the contest in September.
"I think it's a very good idea and I certainly will support it," Council member Len Resto said. "I know Dawn spent a lot of time researching this. In a million years I couldn't tell you there is a Vexillogical Society. I couldn't even spell it, let alone know that they have standards for what a flag should entail. I think it's another opportunity to involve the community in something that would enhance it.
As an example of what might be included on the flag, it was suggested that chairs lined up in front of King's for the Fourth of July Parade could be part of design.
Dawn Paruta of the Public Arts Council proposes a Chatham Borough design contest