The city of Livingston has released a few options for a new city seal that would put sweet potatoes front and center, but will look for more input from local students before making a final decision, officials confirmed Wednesday.
The Livingston City Council decided about a year ago to say goodbye to the old city motto “The Last Stop,” a reference to a long-ago traffic signal that once stopped motorists on Highway 99.
The city has pushed a campaign to get local schoolchildren to design a logo or seal, according to Councilman Gurpal Samra.
“We are the sweet potato capital and it’s good to celebrate who you are,” he said.
Samra said he’s partial so far to “Logo #6” and said he appreciates that it rebrands the city while keeping elements of the old seal.
The council hopes to have some offerings from students at the Sept. 20 regular meeting, he said.
Three of the proposed seals look similar to the old one, only they carry the motto “The Sweet Potato Capital.” The other options are rectangular rather than seal-like, but also play up the city’s connection to sweet potatoes.
Until the 1990s, Livingston had the last stoplight on Highway 99, hence the old motto, according to officials. It wasn’t immediately clear when the city adopted the motto.
Councilman Alex McCabe said he’ll hold off from picking a favorite until after he has seen more input from local art students. He said sweet potatoes are unique to the region and represent a positive aspect of the local economy.
“ ‘The Last Stop,’ though it’s great to pay homage to our history, it really doesn’t resonate with citizens nowadays,” he said. “When they think of ‘The Last Stop,’ they don’t think of something positive. They barely even recognize what it is.”
Sweet potatoes are the fifth-largest commodity in Merced County, totaling $217 million, according to the most recent crop report. More than 90 percent of the state’s crop comes from the Livingston area, according to the California Sweetpotato Council.
McCabe said the new motto also ties in with the Livingston Sweet Potato Festival, now in its fifth year.
The festival is set for Oct. 1-2 at the Max Foster Sports Complex, 2600 Walnut Ave. Planned are carnival rides, live bands, baking contests, professional wrestling and other attractions.
To see all the logos proposed so far, go to this story at www.mercedsunstar.com.
For more on the festival, go to www.livingstoncity.com.