GARDINER — The city has settled on a new logo with an image of a gazebo that aims to convey a respect for history while looking toward the future.

Its dark green gazebo icon represents a gathering place for the community, and the curved line below conveys the importance of the Kennebec River to Gardiner’s past and future development, said Director of Economic and Community Development Nate Rudy.

There’s one hitch: The gazebo in the logo — located in Gardiner Commons — is scheduled to be torn down before the end of the year because of safety concerns.

City Manager Scott Morelli said there are worries about the gazebo’s structural integrity and how much longer it will be able to support people standing on it, though no one was has been injured. He said he expects it to be torn down within a month.

Morelli said he and other officials recognize the irony in approving a new logo with the gazebo as a central image even as they plan to demolish that very icon.

“Obviously, that is something in the back of everybody’s mind; but we’re all committed to having a new gazebo ready for next spring,” he said.

A new one will cost about $30,000, and it would be partially funded by the city’s bicentennial fund and possibly money from next year’s budget, as well as business sponsorships and community donations, he said

“When there’s a worthy cause, people in Gardiner are willing to step up to the plate; and I think this falls in that category,” Morelli said.

Dawn Thistle, special collections librarian at the Gardiner Public Library, said the gazebo was built in 1977 after an older gazebo was torn down in the mid-1950s.

City councilors approved the new logo design during a meeting Wednesday. People will begin to see Gardiner’s new logo appear in the coming months on brochures and the city website, and later on business cards and letterheads.

He also said the logo eventually will appear on new signs and other items promoting the city, and he expects the logo to be fully in use within a year.

“I’m very excited about the new logo. I think there’s a lot of people in the community that have taken a look at it and are excited about it,” he said.

The logo is the result of a nearly three-month-long process that involved discussions among Gardiner community members who had expressed interest in the logo’s development, Gardiner city officials, design consultants and a marketing company — Sutherland and Weston Marketing Communications, of Bangor — that came up with the design.

Rudy said the typeface — Garamond Premier Pro — is “traditional without being heavy.”

Gardiner’s old logo had been in place for about eight years, city officials said.

The new logo was created as part of the city’s Heart & Soul project, which was funded by the Orton Family Foundation’s $100,000 grant awarded to Gardiner in January. The foundation’s Heart & Soul projects aim to increase community involvement and help small cities and towns create long-term planning.

Rudy said the city put out a request for proposal for building a website, including the development of a logo, which was awarded to Sutherland and Weston in response to a $10,000 bid. Funding for the project is being split between the Heart & Soul grant and the city’s economic and community development advertising budget, according to Rudy.

Rudy said the website will have a community calendar and give people a chance to upload photos, videos, stories and feedback from events held throughout the year in the city. Some of those messages then will be used to generate authentic community messages about what the city values for marketing purposes, he said.

Morelli said they originally planned to have the community website for Heart & Soul be separate from the city’s website, but now they’re thinking of combining them. He still has to meet with the city’s technology director to see whether it’s possible, he said. The new website could be unveiled in December.

Cary Weston, partner at Sutherland and Weston and the mayor of Bangor, worked with members of the logo committee to help develop the logo. He said he listened to what they thought of their community and what they want to convey through the logo.

Weston said they choose the gazebo icon because they wanted to find a simple way of attaching a symbol to the project that would enhance a sense of neighborhood. He said many neighborhoods feed into the commons, where the gazebo is.

If city officials’ optimism proves correct, after the structure is demolished, the spot won’t be empty for too long.

“The gazebo will be replaced. It’s just a matter of timing,” Rudy said. “I feel the community will move with gusto to replace that gazebo.”

 

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

pkoenig@mainetoday.com