Independence Residents Work on Hwy 20 Flag

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Along highway 20, 80 feet in the air, a 12 by 18 foot flag welcomes drivers to Independence. However, until this week, city council was considering moving it.

“The size of the flag and the location, it is a more difficult flag to maintain. More expensive,” City Manager Al Roder said. “Frequently we get calls and complaints, understandably, about the flag being tattered ripped, the wind takes its toll.”

It costs the city $310 to replace the flag, and $10 a month for the lights around it. Roder says the city has to replace it every six to eight weeks. That along with the 13 other flags the city maintains.

City council wanted to move the Triangle Park flag to a different location, where the wind would not hit as hard. A group of area veterans caught wind of that idea, and wanted to make sure it remained a welcome sign for the town.

“Highway 20 is a very busy road, it’s a high exposure road, we have a good location there, a beautiful location,” VFW Commander Roger Allen said. “We can work together.”

Roger, the group, and other residents went to a city council meeting to share their thoughts. That is when city council decided to leave the flag in place.

“This is a great demonstration of democracy. The council in doing their job and being prudent with their responsibility thought they were making a good decision. At the same time citizens came up and said hey we disagree,” Roder said. “The council was very adamant about let’s work together. I think the public stepped up and wants to create a public private partnership for the purpose of maintaining that.”

Now private donors will be able to give money to help offset the cost of replacing the flag. Allen said he has even taken calls from people across the nation wanting to help.

“The American flag is our symbol, our symbol of freedom, our symbol of good ‘ol America,” he said.