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Cottage Grove wants new motto to market city to businesses, families

How would you describe Cottage Grove in just a handful of words?

That's the task tackled by city officials who in recent months have worked to create the city's first motto, something needed, they say, to market Cottage Grove to prospective residents and businesses.

"It's kind of a branding effort trying to say -- within just a few words -- what Cottage Grove is all about," said City Administrator Ryan Schroeder.

An online survey in December kicked off the process of finding a suitable city motto, soliciting more than 200 suggestions. Of those, around 120 slogans made it to a meeting of the city's advisory commissions on Jan. 14 and were narrowed to roughly 50, Schroeder said.

City officials then took those to consultant SEH Inc., whose marketing experts examined the list of potential mottoes and whittled the field to 10. Now, Schroeder said, City Council members are on the verge of approving a motto from a remaining short-list. That approval will likely come next month, he said, after another review by SEH's marketing consultants.

Schroeder did not want to release the final suggestions before the council selected one.

"We need to kind of vet it to make sure that anything we might choose is not copywritten," Schroeder said.

The entire process, Schroeder said, has cost the city roughly $600.

Mayor Myron Bailey said a city slogan is just another way for Cottage Grove to advertise itself, something that has been a major focus of his mayoral term, now in its fourth year.

"As we market the city it signifies what Cottage Grove is about," Bailey said. The motto, he said, "should appeal not just to business -- families, too."