It’s time to bring back the fireworks [UPDATED]Published 4:26am Monday, July 8, 2013 Updated 6:30am Monday, July 8, 2013
As has been the case since 2009, there were no Independence Day fireworks in Fergus Falls this year. Back in the day, as the saying goes, the city used to put on a Fourth of July display at DeLagoon Park for all to see. City leaders, however, concluded the $15,000 display of patriotism was expendable at a time when the budget was tight.
Now, however, with the city budget apparently on much sounder footing, it may be time to revisit the fireworks decision.
It’s true that a fireworks show is not an essential service. But, then, neither are some of the other items on which the city has decided to spend its money. Unlike fireworks, some of these other projects don’t provide visible benefit to most residents. Nor do they enhance Fergus Falls’ reputation as a significant regional city.
Remodeling City Hall, for example, will no doubt be convenient for a few, but the expensive project is unlikely to affect the lives of most residents even once a year. In contrast, many residents not only from Fergus Falls but visiting the area enjoyed the fireworks show. Rich or poor, you could get a blanket, sit on a hill, and enjoy the fireworks free of charge.
These days, to enjoy fireworks of the same level, you either have to travel outside of Fergus Falls, be fortunate enough to own lake property, or buy fireworks which are technically illegal in Minnesota.
Considering the city council voted to remodel City Hall, a place only a fraction of residents actually visit — and then for no more than a few moments — it seems there’s a priority issue here.
We urge council members to consider funding the fireworks show next year, and to sharpen their pencils and find the funds to do it. It may well be that with a commitment and leadership from the city, a majority of the show could be privately financed.
Residents would prefer fireworks to some of the less publicly accessible projects the city contemplates. Let’s give them fireworks.