By Pauline Masson
Mayor Herb Adams called on the board of aldermen to increase the amount that the city spends on an annual fireworks exhibit to celebrate Independence Day.
The exhibition is usually scheduled on the Saturday closest to July 4 and has been held in the city park or atop Blackburn Park as part of the Pacific Partnership’s Cruise Night antique auto show.
“Like our neighboring cities, we need to do bigger and better things,” Adams said.
Speaking at the Jan. 21 board of aldermen meeting, the mayor said he had asked for $2,000 for fireworks, in addition to the $8,000 spent in the past two years, but was turned down.
“Am I just thinking and speaking out alone?” Adams asked. “If you want to grow anything there is a need for more labor and more money. Anything that we do, we need to do more.
“We spent $8,000 last year, but look at what our neighbors do,” Adams said. “Carol (Johnson, Ward 2 alderman) has always been the face of fireworks. For years she raised money on her own. There is no reason for an elected official to be beating on doors to raise funds for a community affair.”
In recent years, the Pacific Tourism Commission has supported the fireworks exhibit, but the show needs to grow, according to the mayor.
“Look at what Kirkwood spends,” Adams pointed out.
Although there had been a division between Johnson and the Partnership over where the fireworks could be shot, Adams said they have come to an agreement and it is time to step up the exhibition a bit.
Twice, fireworks have been shot from Blackburn Park to close the Cruise Night event.
“There’s no doubt that the fireworks show keeps people in town,” Adams said. “They don’t take off after the (Cruise Night) awards, but people stay downtown to see the show. That’s what tourism money is for.”
Alderman Ed Gass said a large number of residents from outside the city also come to see the fireworks.
“People from a seven to 10-mile radius support the town,” Gass said. “They come here every day to shop.”
Gass made a motion to increase the amount for fireworks to $10,000, but Alderman Walter Arnette, who serves as liaison to the tourism commission, asked to take the measure back to the tourism commission and ask for a recommendation to increase the amount.
Johnson noted that $10,000 seems like a logical amount at this stage of the annual celebration.
“This was former Alderman Rick Layton’s idea,” Johnson said. “That first year we had $1,500. It increased from year to year. Now 10 years later, it’s right that it has moved up to $10,000.”
The date for the 2014 Cruise Night and fireworks from Blackburn Park is Saturday, June 28.