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It's official. The Village in the Forest is now the village with a flag.
After 130 years?"not that anyone seemed particularly concerned about the lack of an official village pennant in the distant past?"the Riverside village board voted unanimously on Oct. 3 to adopt the Randy Kaden design that prominently features the Des Plaines River, historic water tower and lush green foliage.
The word "Riverside" stretches across the white flag, in a script that's a nod to the original Frederick Law Olmsted map of the village. Underneath is the village's Latin motto "Villae in Silvis" (Village in The Forest), along with the date 1875, when Riverside was officially incorporated as a municipality. The flag also notes that Riverside was designated a "National Historic Landmark,"
Village Manager Kathleen Rush said that the flag will be in production shortly and that the goal is to unveil the new flag at the Holiday Stroll event on Dec. 2. The flag will also be available for purchase by residents. Information on cost wasn't available.
The new flag is the result of some 18 months of deliberation by an ad hoc committee formed to settle on a design. That committee included village trustees Kevin Smith and Cindy Gustafson, residents Randy Kaden and Dr. Bob Novak, and Riverside Historical Museum Director Suzanne Bartholomew.
Novak sparked the formation of the committee during an appearance before the village board on March 1, 2004 where he presented a prototype design for a flag after learning the village had never adopted an official banner for itself.
After reading about that event in the local newspaper, Kaden sent a dozen other designs to Rush. Both men were eventually invited to be on the Flag Committee, with Kaden serving as the primary designer.
Kaden, a former longtime art director with the Leo Burnett advertising agency, currently works as a freelance artist, specializing in murals and some advertising. He's lived in Riverside for the past 16 years.
"Eventually we settled on two designs," Kaden said. "The other showcased the village's gas lights, another very familiar icon."
Kaden said the committee later settled on the tower and river as the central icons of the village, using the swinging bridge as a way to localize the Des Plaines River. Kaden acknowledged the original Olmsted map had inspired the lettering of the word "Riverside."
"I've always admired the look of that," Kaden said. "I used that as the inspiration and then cleaned it up to make it more readable and contemporary."
Kaden said he hopes the village will go a step further and use the new Riverside emblem from the flag and adopt it as the village logo.
"It's still my hope the flag will replace the 1970s-style logo which is still in use," he said.
The flag may undergo some minor changes by the flag manufacturer, but Kaden said he's thrilled to have been part of the flag-design process.
"I'm really looking forward to the unveiling," he said. "It's neat to have a piece of history to be associated with. My love affair with Riverside is ongoing."