Several years ago I wrote about a Mankato slogan that never really took off.

"A little Twin Cities a Lot Minnesota" wasn't a bad official motto, it just never caught on. So a few years ago the city civic leaders sought another one.

The new one is the word "Mankato" with "Now Playing" below it. Atop the words is a nifty, stylized bicycle logo.

It's pretty good, tying in the area's impressive bike trails and capitalizing on the outdoor activities and sports events in the area.

(Someone should, however, update the city's Wikipedia page, which still lists the official motto as "As little Twin Cities....")

Towns need some kind of tagline to use when marketing themselves. I do not envy the folks who have to come up with a city slogan. You're not likely to strike upon one that will be forever memorable like "The city that never sleeps" or "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." At best you find one that's memorable, defines the city and doesn't embarrass.

The official motto for La Crosse, Kansas, is "Barbed Wire Capital of the World." I kind of like it — straightforward, a big part of their Old West history, blue collar and something they're obviously proud of. And the fact it's "of the World" and not just "of the U.S." shows a nice sense of American exceptionalism.

Other towns with interesting official or unofficial mottos include San Andreas, California ("It's not our fault"), Lake City, Iowa ("Everything but a lake"), Walla Walla Washington ("The city so nice they named it twice").

And South Dakotans seem to have a good sense of humor. Bushnell, South Dakota's motto: "It's not the end of the Earth, but you can see it from here." Or Gettysburg, South Dakota: "Where the battle wasn't."

We need to start collecting some new ideas for Mankato in case "Now Playing" doesn't make the cut with the public.

In light of the five- and seven-story office towers going up downtown, the motto could be: "Mankato: We have tall buildings now."

Or we could take the humble Midwestern approach, which was stated by a new reporter in our newsroom after a colleague questioned why she moved here from the highfalutin' East Coast. "It's not so bad here," she said. "Come to Mankato: It's not so bad here."

Or we could make a nod to our revitalized City Center. "Mankato: Our downtown's not a dump anymore," which was, roughly, a statement made by a local elected official recently after a discussion about another business renovation project.

Of course, any list of possible mottos has to include roundabouts. Beyond the many that have been built recently, many more are coming. The 30-year highway plan calls for nine roundabouts from one end of Highway 22 to the other alone.

"Come to love Mankato in a roundabout way;" or "Mankato a circuitous route to happiness;" or "Mankato: A dozen roundabouts — 38,000 drivers who haven't yet mastered them," or "Mankato: You may crash but you won't die here."

And finally: "Mankato: We got us a Fleet Farm."

Tim Krohn can be contacted at or 344-6383.

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