MANCHESTER — So many residents have submitted ideas for a new town motto that selectmen were unable to choose just one.

So they will leave it up to residents to pick which of five finalists best captures what Manchester is all about.

After town officials sought suggestions from residents earlier this month, they were swamped with submissions, getting 50 from Manchester Elementary School students alone, plus another couple dozen from other residents for a total of about 70.

Jeremy Pare, chairman of the selectmen, said residents will be asked to pick a new town motto at the Manchester annual Town Meeting, Thursday, June 12.

Before them will be five options: four new submissions from residents selected as finalists by selectmen and the current motto “Manchester, the way life is.”

The four submissions from residents, two of which were from adult members of the community, the other two from elementary school students, are:

• “Manchester: A great place to live”

• “Where our history contributes to our future”

• “A small town with a big heart”

• “A place to grow”

Pare said most of the non-finalist mottoes submitted reflected similar themes to those that made the final cut. That is, generally, that Manchester is a small town that people love.

“Things like that were pervasive in the submissions, whether they were from someone who has lived here for years, or a third- or fourth-grader,” Pare said. “A lot of them had a link to history, and there was some pride in each of the submittals, which was really good to see. Reading them, you can see people love this little town, and want to be here. The heart of the matter is they love living in Manchester.”

Residents will be asked to vote for their favorite motto in a secret ballot vote at the town meeting, which is June 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The vote results will be tallied that night and, later in the meeting, the winning motto will be announced.

Pare and other selectmen are hopeful the motto will perhaps help bring more people to town meeting, or at least provide voters with a lighter topic of discussion than usual town meeting items, such as the budget. Pare said the town is revamping its website and so sought ideas for a new motto to try and capture, in eight to 10 words, what uniquely describes Manchester.

“We had some fun with the process, talking about what Manchester is all about,” Pare said. “Hopefully it’ll be a nice light element we can bring to Town Meeting, in what can sometimes be a stuffy atmosphere. A good opportunity for folks to talk about what Manchester means to them.”

Pare said Manchester Elementary School students also submitted their own artwork to go along with their motto submissions. That artwork will be on display around the school gym, which is the site of the Town Meeting, so residents can view it at the meeting.

The current motto, “The way life is,” was largely the creation of the late Mark Doyon, resident and town manager from 2003 to 2010, who came up with that motto to have something to put up on the town’s then-new website. It’s a twist on the unofficial slogan for Maine, “The way life should be.”

Keith Edwards – 621-5647 | [email protected] | Twitter: @kedwardskj