Hanna Turner Fairmont city council

Hanna Turner, the city’s marketing and communications manager, shows a preliminary design for a new Fairmont city logo at this week’s city council meeting.

FAIRMONT — A Fairmont City council member brought up some historical concerns after a preliminary design for a new city logo was unveiled at this week’s city council meeting.

Council member Dora Kay Grubb, the former president of the Marion County Historical Society, objected to the part of the design that states Fairmont was established in 1899.

“Well, I just wanted to bring up a point because you know how I feel,” Grubb said. “Fairmont was established in 1820. It was designed in 1820.”

Grubb said, “I really think it should say we were established in 1820, not 1899.”

Responding to her concerns, Hanna Turner, the city’s director of marketing and communications, said the designers went by the information on the current city seal, which states that the city was chartered on Feb. 18, 1899.

Councilman Philip Mason agreed with Grubb.

“We’re celebrating 200 years next year, and so it would seem to me to be counter-intuitive to say 1899, when it was established in 1820,” he said.

Mason thought it would be “kind of a conflict to be celebrating 200 years and on our logo, we have it 1899.”

According to “The West Virginia Encyclopedia” published by the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Virginia legislature established Fairmont on Jan. 19, 1820 on the farm of Boaz Fleming.

However, its original name was Middletown, a fact Turner brought up in her response to Mason.

The name of Middletown was changed to Fairmont in 1843, according to the West Virginia Encyclopedia.

The encyclopedia notes that “the present city was born Feb. 18, 1899, when a new charter was granted by which Fairmont, Palatine and West Fairmont were incorporated as the city of Fairmont.”

As a solution, Turner suggested the logo could read “chartered” instead of “established.”

“We could certainly change it to ‘chartered,’” Turner said. Grubb said she would feel better having the logo say “chartered in 1899.”

Discussing other aspects of the design, Turner said the “main version” of the new logo incorporates “The Middle of Everywhere” tag line that the Marion County Convention & Visitors Bureau is using in its re-branding. She said there is also a version without the slogan.

Turner said she was impressed by the “The Middle of Everywhere” tag line when she saw it originally on the CVB materials after the rebranding.

“I really liked that because I felt like it really encompassed Fairmont, not only geographically, but also with Fairmont’s history with Middletown, Va., and it just really worked well for Fairmont,” she said. Digital Relativity of Fayetteville designed by the city’s and the CVB’s logos.

Leisha Elliott, executive director of the CVB, said she was excited the city was able to have its logo look similar to the CVB’s logo. She said it was done with the CVB’s blessings.

She said the similar look provides continuity between the county and the city, and makes the city more identifiable with the CVB’s promotional efforts throughout the county.

Turner also gave council a look at a conceptual design and layout for the city’s website redesign.

According to Turner, it’s a no-cost redesign that is included in the city’s contract with CivicPlus, the Manhatan, Kansas-based company that offers website design and services to municipalities. She said the city hopes to have the new website design go live in September.

“It’s very similar to what we have now, a lot of the same components, it’s just giving it a fresher look,” Turner said. “It’s keeping it more modern with the times, and changing out the pictures. There’s new things going on in Fairmont. It’s time that we have some new stuff.”

Alex Petry, program manager — economic development in the city’s planning & development department, gave council a look at another website that has been developed.

While the city’s main website is more service-based, he said, this website will be used more as a selling point for developers and potential business owners who are seeking information about Fairmont.

“This site is going to have a lot of information,” he said. “It’s going to be linked from the current website.”

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.