By Ginger Jarvis
Madison residents may have to travel to Greenville or Lee for their July 4 fireworks fix. Then again, maybe they’ll be able to ooh and ahh by Lake Francis as usual. The project is in the wind, waiting for the nod from the city attorney; it was put on hold by the city commissioners at their regular meeting on June 14.
The problem arose from a statement by the interim director of the Chamber of Commerce, Cindy Vees, who told the board that the Chamber could not afford to hire a commerical fireworks company. For a cost of $12,000-15,000, the company would provide a 20-minute show pre-loaded so that no person would have to touch the fireworks. The fee would increase by about 15 per cent for insurance. “So soon after Down Home Days, we cannot go to our businesses and ask them to contribute for this,” Vees said.
City Manager Harold Emrich said that Johnson and Johnson has volunteered to purchase the fireworks at wholesale cost, which would require persons to load the pipes and set off the fireworks manually. Fire Chief Alfred Martin said that none of his firefighters are certified to do that. However, that still left the question of liability insurance.
Emrich suggested that City Attorney Clay Schnitker check the possibility of liability insurance wtih the person in charge of the fireworks show in Lee, since that policy may also cover the show in Madison. He said the the city policy would not cover any injury incurred during the show should an accident occur.
Vees said that if the show is permitted, the Chamber will promote it and do what they can to assist. Martin added that the Fire Department will have a truck on hand and will assist with other preparations. Emrich said that city employees would set up bleachers, close off the road, and provide security.
With those understandings, Commissioner Rayne Cooks moved that the show go on if the insurance is provided by some entity other than the city. Commissioner Judy Townsend seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.
Lovers of fireworks will have to wait to find out whether Madison will continue its July 4 tradition or if they’ll have to enjoy a display elsewhere.
Madison Fireworks? Maybe, Maybe Not
By Ginger Jarvis