Creston is stepping into something that can turn out really clever as much as it can backfire.
Through social media, Creston’s Image Enhancement Committee reviewed 51 suggestions for our fair town to have a motto. Having a motto is a great idea as it can be spread across billboards, newspaper advertisements and tourism literature and pamphlets to get the attention from others.
But a motto can also turn sour - fast.
The motto should be clever and catchy but try to avoid it from having the proverbial tables flip and it’s used as a punchline to jokes or memes.
The most popular suggestion received through the Facebook survey was “Creston: A great place to explore on Highway 34.”
That’s good on the surface but it may make people think more of the highway through town rather than the town itself. U.S. Highway 34 is not specific to Creston as Osceola, Corning, Red Oak and many other Iowa towns have the road too.
Other towns with mottos have used something historic, specific to the town, or some certain feature. Omaha, Nebraska, had “Rare. Well Done.” That’s a fun use of the city’s history with meatpacking plants. The Taylor County town of Gravity has a sign stating, “”We’re down to earth. If gravity goes, we all go.” Sounds more comical than a traditional motto, but it is fun.
The state of Iowa played on the Iowa based and forever popular “Field of Dreams” movie with the motto “Fields of Opportunities.” You get the point.
Comments made during the May 18 city council meeting about the issue were to make the motto more encompassing which is an honorable strategy.
Maybe the motto could show some town history with the railroad. “Creston: You’re on the right track.” Some could argue the railroad is no different than U.S. Highway 34 as other towns have rail lines. But in that context, the vibe is more about making the correct choice of using Creston which shadows any train reference.
The town itself was named after its higher elevation, also noted by the railroad industry. So another suggestion could be, “Creston: A place to look up to.”
The committee is looking for more input and suggestions from people and plans to use the annual Fourth of July celebration as a way to get those responses.
Until then, give it some good, thorough thought if you have an idea. Our image is counting on it.