A notable symbol in one community is beginning to show signs of wear and tear – and plans are underway to replace and improve the symbol.
The concrete base of the flagpole located near Applebee’s in Maple Valley Plaza in Farmington is showing signs of age.
And, out of safety concerns, the flagpole will be replaced.
Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey and City Administrator Greg Beavers were inspecting the pole base once again on Thursday morning – and outlined the steps being taken to raise the flag once again.
“Todd and (city employee) Steve Harris’s concerns were sufficient to me to take the flag down,” Beavers said.
Beavers noted the flag serves as a part of Farmington.
“It’s kind of a point of pride for the community to have that flag out there,” Beavers said. “It looks great, but it needs to be safely, properly installed.”
He also said the configuration of the current flag makes it difficult to lower the flag to half-staff.
The flag will be removed while arrangements are made for the installation of a new pole.
“But, in the meantime, we need to take immediate action to ensure public safety,” he said.
The pole was erected in 1993 through the public effort of a number of people, including Chip Peterson and the late Joe Burgess.
“It was just about the time we were finishing up Steak ‘n Shake,” Peterson said. “Joe and I worked with Bob Silvey … who was real involved with the American Legion and VFW.
“We all worked together on that because there wasn’t a really big flag in Farmington and we thought there needed to be one.”
Peterson said he and Burgess owned the property at the time and donated the land for the pole – which now currently sits on property owned by Applebee’s.
“Joe and I did it from a company standpoint,” he said. “We had Maple Valley and we just felt like (a flagpole) needed to be there when you came into town.”
It was a team effort between the developers, along with Ron Schivitz, Jim Politte with Politte Ready-Mix, Walmart, Ozark Steel, the city of Farmington.
The pole was dedicated on May 8, 1993 by the VFW Post 5896 and American Legion Post 416.
In 2007, at the request of veterans groups, the city took over the care and maintenance of the pole. At that time, maintenance work was done on the pole and additional anchors installed by recommendation of a structural engineer.
Peterson noted the design makes it difficult to maintain the flag. He said he was contacted by the city when the possibility of replacing the pole was discussed.
The city administrator said the pole needs to be on public property with public right-of-way or installed in a location where the city has an easement in place for the city to maintain.
And, he stressed, the community should note the flag will fly once a new pole is put into place.