Fourth of July fireworks show to be held at Recreation Center

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

The anticipated Fourth of July fireworks show is now in the hands of the City of Lewisburg after the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce withdrew its sponsorship after it disagreed with the change in location from Rock Creek Park to the Lewisburg Recreation Center.

The City Council voted to have the show at Rock Creek Park during January's meeting, something Chamber of Commerce President Vicki Cain said would be better than having it at the Recreation Center. But during April's City Council meeting, the location was changed to the Recreation Center.

After the location was changed, Ritaanne Weaver, Chamber of Commerce executive director sent out a mass email announcing the Chamber's withdraw as a co-sponsor.

"The Chamber Board of Directors voted for the Chamber not to proceed with the partial hosting of the event at the Recreation Center," Weaver responded to the Tribune via email.

"The board felt that Rock Creek Park was the best place for the public to view the fireworks, and that the area was wide open and would provide an open area for the shooting of the fireworks, as well."

In previous years, the Chamber of Commerce helped fund smaller shows at the Recreation Center. Weaver said the Chamber Board is in full support of a fireworks show in the community and will continue to help get the word out to the public.

Cain explained that the fireworks this year will not be like the ones used in the past and cited Michael Head, the pyrotechnician who will put on the show as having safety concerns.

"It will be a whole different caliber of show. Michael said for safety, it will be better if you do it at Rock Creek Park," Cain said during last month's meeting.

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 Recreation Center, this would interfere with the Kiwanis golf tournament, also scheduled for July 4.

She also added that there are fewer trees and homes at Rock Creek Park, something with which Lewisburg Fire Chief Larry Williams, who will have to sign off on a plan for the show and send it to the state, agreed.

Cain lost her fight when the council decided to move the show to the soon-to-be renovated Lewisburg Recreational Center.

"There was a lot of people, not just council members, that complained that the fireworks show wasn't going to be at the traditional location at the Rec Center," said Randall Dunn, Lewisburg City manager.

"There was also the thought that everything we are doing at the Rec Center, with new pool and everyone from the pageant already there, it seemed like having it at the Rec Center was the majority of everyone's opinion."

In an email to the sponsors who donated to the show, Weaver said the Chamber of Commerce will reimburse checks to those who donated money for the fireworks show, and they can rewrite them to the City of Lewisburg if they choose. She added that the contract for the fireworks will be between the city and Head.

Williams said there is no problem having the show at the Recreation Center.

"One thing I have to look at is the size of a mortar they shoot. If the sizes are from three to four, the trees and homes at the Recreation Center won't be a problem. We have measured the fall out zones are they are all there," said Williams.

He said the Lewisburg Fire Department is to be at the fireworks show if anything was to happen.

Dunn said all of the sponsors have turned over their checks to the city.