City council approves spending on fireworks

Friday, March 13, 2015

By Karen Hall


Lewisburg city councilmen unanimously approved a resolution to spend $1,500 on a Fourth of July fireworks show at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

This brings the total available to spend on the show to $5,000, thanks to contributions from Ascend Federal Credit Union, Berry Plastics, Blalock Plumbing Electric & HVAC Inc., Tillis Jewelry and the Marshall County Tribune.

Chamber of Commerce President Vicki Cain attended the council meeting and explained why it would be better to have the fireworks show in Rock Creek Park instead of at the Recreation Center, where it has been presented in the past.

"These fireworks will not be like the ones used in the past," she said.

"It will be a whole different caliber of show. Michael (Head, the pyrotechnician who will put on the show) said for safety it will be better if you do it at Rock Creek Park."

Cain explained Head sets up his show early and the area where the fireworks are placed is then off-limits to everyone. If it were set up on the golf course at the Rec Center, this would interfere with the Kiwanis golf tournament, also scheduled for July 4.

Another advantage of Rock Creek Park is that there are fewer trees and no homes near the fireworks area.

"It would be a lot better if we did it at Rock Creek Park," Cain concluded.

Lewisburg Fire Chief Larry Williams, who will have to sign off on a plan for the show and send it to the state, agreed with her.

"In my opinion, it would be safer at Rock Creek Park," he said.

"So we're putting in $1,500 for a show at Rock Creek Park?" asked Councilman Trigg Cathey, clarifying the resolution the council was about to vote on.

"Yes," said Mayor Jim Bingham, and the vote in favor was unanimous.

Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett also attended the city council meeting in order to thank all the city departments for the work they did at the Courthouse Annex last Thursday.

Liggett thanked the fire department for rescuing the maintenance workers from the elevator; Lewisburg Electric System who sent personnel to cut the power off; gas department personnel who came and cut the gas off and helped firefighters deal with unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the Annex basement; and the water and wastewater department which helped with pumping water out of the basement, as did the Marshall County Board of Public Utilities.

"The Lewisburg Fire Department were the first on the scene and the last to leave," said Liggett.

"As soon as they had the men out of the elevator, they said, 'What else can we do to help?' I'm here to thank them publicly in front of you all. They all pitched in and we thank them very much."

"We came together as a community," agreed Bingham.

"I'd like to thank all who were involved. That speaks well of our community."

Also speaking to the unity of county and city was Mike Wiles, executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board.

"I'd like to thank everyone -- the Rec Center served as a shelter for county citizens (in the recent weather emergency)," he said.

"We were glad to do it," said Cary Whitesell, interim director of parks and recreation.

The city also received a gift from the county. Marshall County regained possession of some land inside the city limits of Lewisburg after the owners failed to pay property taxes, and Tuesday city councilmen unanimously agreed to accept ownership of the properties from the county.

The gift consists of a plot on First Avenue North, near Rock Creek Park, will be used for the community garden, and land on Fourth Avenue North which will become part of Harmon Park.

"I'd like to express our appreciation to those on the County Court," said Councilman Steve Thomas, using the old name for the County Commission.

"We really appreciate it."

In other business, councilmen voted to approve spending on three new vehicles for the police department and on improvements at Rock Creek Park, both of which were extensively discussed at last week's work session.

They drew the line, however, at spending over $200,000 to install lights at Exit 32 off Interstate 65. This sum represents the city's 50-percent share of the total for the project; the rest would be paid by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The council has been talking with TDOT about lights at Exit 32 for years and never reached a satisfactory conclusion. Now the price of the project has risen so high councilmen agreed Bingham should write to TDOT to say the city is no longer interested.