Bowie officials are looking to see how many residents have a drive to show their civic pride with Bowie-branded license plates.
For the Motor Vehicle Administration to create the plates, the city must find about 25 residents interested in driving with plates that associate them with the city, said Buel Young, an MVA spokesman.
“It’s just to make sure there is sufficient interest to cover the effort that goes into making the plate,” he said.
As of Sept. 14, about a dozen people expressed interest in the plates, said Denise Mahoney, an assistant to the city manager. Mahoney is overseeing the city’s license plate program.
There are more than 800 organizational plates in the state of Maryland, Young said. The plates vary from supporting sports teams such as the Washington Redskins to ones associated with area high schools and programs such as the Special Olympics, according to the MVA website.
A driver doesn’t have to need to register their car in order to get the a new plate, however getting the $25 plate would be in addition to their registration cost, said Mahoney.
Bowie would be far from the first in the county to get specialty tags.
The Port Towns Community Development Corp., which represents Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City and Edmonston, for economic development has had a similar license plate program since 1998. When the program first launched, about 100 residents got Port Towns tags, but few have gotten them since, said Sadara Barrow, the CDC executive director.
The program hasn’t received much support or advertising in the past seven years, Barrow said.
“We’ve got a lot of other things going on so we don’t have the time or ability to really implement it,” she said. “It does take some sort of organizing process.”
The programs may come out of hibernation at some point, Barrow said. Still, the 100 or so tags still out in circulation provide a means to start up conversations about the region and the work of the CDC, Barrow said.
“It offers people an opportunity to say what this tag is and starts discussions,” she said.
Bowie’s plate would feature the city’s seal as well as the letters COB, for City of Bowie. The plates would only be available to those who live within the city, Mahoney said.
Councilman Todd Turner (At large) suggested the idea at an August council meeting and asked city staff to look at the logistics.
“It’s a civic pride opportunity,” Turner said. “Out of a city of 55,000 people, we can get 25 interested in saying they like living in the city.”
Bowie residents interested in the plates should contact Mahoney at 301-809-3031.