Lewisburg to have fireworks for Fourth of July again

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

By Karen Hall


Lewisburg is to have a fireworks display on the Fourth of July for the first time since 2009.

The only thing that could prevent it would be a vote by council members Tuesday not to spend $1,500. This is all that's lacking to be able to have a $5,000 firework show.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ritaanne Weaver attended the city council's work session Monday night to ask for the money.

"We're requesting partial funding for Fourth of July fireworks," she said.

Weaver went on to explain the Chamber had obtained funding from local businesses, including the Marshall County Tribune, and were only asking the city for $1,500.

She said for $5,000 Michael Head of Petersburg could put on a 10-15 minute show.

"It will be a nice show," Weaver assured council members.

She listed the reasons for having a firework show: it unifies the community, shows patriotism, brings in tourists and keeps people in town and adds to the Fourth of July celebration.

City Manager Randall Dunn agreed that a fireworks show was a good idea.

"Last year was my first Fourth of July (here)," he said.

"I got numerous phone calls asking when and where the fireworks show would be, and when I said we weren't having one, people said, 'That's terrible!' It's a tradition we had. Nobody said they were glad we didn't have one," Dunn said.

Weaver said Head suggested having the fireworks in Rock Creek Park.

"Why move away from the Rec Center?" asked Councilman Artie Allen.

"Michael was concerned about liability at the golf course," explained Weaver.

"He didn't say it couldn't be done."

"Last time we did it, I helped," said Councilman Bam Haislip.

"It was at the Rec Center."

Weaver agreed to try and get Head to come to the council's monthly meeting next week so he could answer any questions. She also said if the fireworks were to be in Rock Creek Park the Chamber would adjust the timing of the Miss Marshall County pageant so everyone would have plenty of time to get to the park.

Next to speak was local veterinarian Dr. Roger Story, owner of Companion Animal Hospital, who was accompanied by humane society members and brought the council a proposal for a new animal shelter.

"We're looking for the land," he said.

"From there the humane society will take it. To get grants and donations we've got to have the land -- there's a lot of money out there."

Story acknowledged a lot of progress has been made at the current animal shelter, and thanked the city for stepping up and helping whenever it was asked.

"Why can't we use the animal shelter as a selling point for the town?" he asked.

"How we treat our animals speaks volumes," he continued. "It goes beyond how the city can save money."

"Do you have a specific location in mind?" asked Mayor Jim Bingham.

"Yes, we do," answered Susan Ragsdale, who has been involved with helping the shelter dogs for many years.

"We're thinking about the site of the old Murray Farm horse barn," she said. "That would be an excellent place" and not far from the current shelter on Woodside Avenue.

"How much land would you need?" asked Bingham.

Ragsdale guessed at two to three acres.

"We don't want a lot a grass to cut," exclaimed Story.

Ragsdale agreed to figure out how big the buildings and parking lot would be and get back to the council with a request for a specific amount of land.

Council members gave a verbal agreement to continue considering the gift of land to the humane society.

"It's clear the council wants to cooperate with you," said Bingham.

"Folks who work on this deserve our thanks and commendation," said Councilman Steve Thomas as the discussion wrapped up.

"We've come a long way in our treatment of animals in this community."