Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Fireworks debris a concern

July 6, 2006

Watching his daughter Ashley burn sparklers late Tuesday evening near Variety of Yummies on 83rd Street, James Wood expressed his view of the city of De Soto's lifting the fireworks ban for the first time this century.

"We're having fun," he said over the constant bang of near and distant fireworks. "From the sound of it, so are a lot of other people."

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle came to the same conclusion.

"Through the weekend, I was impressed by the duration and extent of fireworks I heard and saw," he said. "Then yesterday, it kind of reached a climax. Again I was impressed with the duration and extent."

He was curious to learn the response of the popularity of the decision to liftthe fireworks ban by other local residents less enthusiastic about the change, Guilfoyle said. He returned to one complaint on his phone, and learned City Clerk Lana McPherson had fielded two walk-in complaints and numerous phone calls.

The complaints weren't of noise but of debris. An e-mail McPherson sent Wednesday to City Council members cited residents complaining of debris left on their property, on streets and sidewalks and falling from the sky.

"People are just not going to stay on their own property and use them," Councilwoman Linda Zindler said of fireworks.

The most vocal opponent of lifting the ban on the council, Zindler said she saw fireworks debris on Kill Creek Streamway Park during the holiday weekend. She continued to believe the public use of fireworks wasn't in the community's best interest, but said she realized she was in the minority on the council and wouldn't try to overturn last year's action.

"If someone else does, I would support it, but I won't introduce it because of the 3-2 vote," she said.

De Soto Mayor David Anderson said he expected the ban to be a topic at Thursday's city council meeting. But he said there was a solid majority in favor of the use of fireworks.

"I don't think the council will turn around and say, 'It didn't work,'" he said. "I think overall it did work."

From what he heard and saw, there were more fireworks shot off this year, Anderson said. But on the positive side, residents seemed to observe the ban of their use on school property during Tuesday's community fireworks show and there were no major fires or injuries, he said.

"Cleanup is certainly something we're going to have to emphasis," Anderson said. "It's just like opening the new pool; we're going to have to tweak some things."

One reason the council agreed to lift the ban was to allow local nonprofit groups a chance to raise money, although the ordinance does not prevent a retailer from selling fireworks. That goal was realized.

As of noon Monday, the De Soto High School football team's stand behind Gulley's Carpet had made $6,000. Even in the midday July heat, a steady stream of customers found their way to the tent.

The same was true of the De Soto VFW Post 6654 stand in front of the post on Penner Avenue.

"Pretty good," Post member Larry Davies said from behind the stand's counter when asked how the stand was doing. "We started the morning with a little over $7,000."

Shopping with her husband and two children, Toni Caldwell said she welcomed the chance to purchase fireworks in De Soto.

"It's great to be able to support local organizations," she said.

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