- Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 05:00
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Staff to report on feasibility for next July 4; cost and other issues being considered
Since 2008, King George residents have had to go out of the county if they wanted to view a professional fireworks display on the Fourth of July.
The Board of Supervisors has tasked county staff to take another look at the feasibility of reinstating those annual displays, which were canceled by the county at the Dahlgren base two years ago.
Chairman Dale Sisson brought up the topic a couple of days after Independence Day, at a county meeting on July 6.
He got concurrence from board members to have staff take a look at the possibility of bringing back a county fireworks display, which is a traditional culminating event to Independence Day for many families.
IT’S THE ECONOMY
Sisson reminded his colleagues why it was eliminated a couple of years ago, saying the main reason was a substantially higher single bid price they got in 2008 for $18,000.
“I know we were making some pretty tough choices at the time and know we ran into some other roadblocks,” Sisson said.
Supervisors had reluctantly agreed to cancel the annual display two years ago when revenues had started sliding during the beginning of the current economic downturn.
“Lighting a match to $20K for 20 minutes just didn’t seem like a smart thing to do from a taxpayers’ perspective with all the other challenges we were facing at the time,” Sisson said.
The board said they would take another look at the issue this summer, well in advance of next year’s holiday.
When the fireworks were first canceled two years ago, the bid information had been brought to the board late in the process by Parks & Recreation Director Tim Smith.
That was in March 2008 and a decision had to be made right away.
Supervisors had been in the midst of deciding on a leaner budget for the next fiscal year to begin on July 1. After receiving only one fireworks bid that was 80 percent higher than the previous year’s cost, supervisors balked at paying $18,000 for fireworks in such a tight budget year.
They delayed the decision until the next day’s scheduled work session to have time to ask base officials to split the cost. The base refused.
OLD-FASHIONED JULY FOURTH CELEBRATION?
Do you think a county fireworks display should be reinstated as an annual event in the county?
Should supervisors also consider bringing bring back its old-fashioned family day of fun?
When the topic was kicked around by supervisors on July 6, it was mentioned that local businesses might be recruited to help with the cost of fireworks.
Though not mentioned by supervisors, local businesses and community organizations might also be asked to help with styling an old-fashioned family celebration at Barnesfield Park or another location in the county.
When the topic of fireworks was brought up earlier this month, supervisors agreed with Sisson’s suggestion to have staff provide a report later this summer with a review the possibilities going forward to next year.
Alternatively, the report could say it’s a no-go and give the reasons why.
The report is to include a review of the other issues that had also led up to the 2008 cancelation decision.
Some of the reasons revolved around security being tightened for base access by community members in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Fourth of July activities on base had previously been designed to be an event to bring the community and base personnel and employees together for a common celebration with an emphasis on families.
For years, the base had sponsored a day-long family fun fair with vendors, games and open swim at the base pool.
It had been the practice for the county to contract and pay for a 20- to 30-minute professional fireworks display in the evening to end the day-long patriotic celebration.
But long before the fireworks were canceled in 2008, the Dahlgren base had eliminated its old-fashioned parade with kids entering their decorated bikes and other local clubs and organizations marching and entering floats.
By 2008, the fireworks display was the only thing left from the older tradition, when that too was cut.
Maybe it’s time to bring back a traditional July Fourth celebration at some location within the county.