All’s not rosy with Lacey’s fireworks
We’ve heard the story. I’ve even told it myself; of how the Lacey City Council and the Lacey Chamber of Commerce joined hands in an effort to save the annual Third of July fireworks display.
How the city council and the chamber teamed up to raise the money, find the location, publicize the event, thus continuing a 40-year history of fireworks in Lacey.
I got swept up in the commotion and emotion. I had enjoyed the South Sound fireworks for nearly four decades and I bemoaned the loss when center management cancelled the annual event. And, I swelled with pride when government and private industry teamed up to keep the fireworks alive in Lacey.
Then, I realized, all is not quite as rosy as the City of Lacey and the Lacey business community would want you to think. There are a number of problems associated with the fireworks – - raising the $20,000 necessary to fund the event – - the location – - the inability of to see the fireworks up close – - the closure of a major arterial – - the lack of publicity – - the list goes on.
The business community has been charged with coming up with the money. And while the Lacey Chamber is close to raising the money, it has been a struggle that doesn’t bode well for future events.
The city selected Bush Park on the Yelm Highway as the location of the fireworks. In the process, it made only token contact with the neighboring homeowners who are concerned about traffic, about parking about the fireworks themselves.
At South Sound Center, viewers could get close – - real close – - so close that ashes and cinders would fall upon them from the sky. The new location will be closed to spectators. City officials are suggesting that people watch the fireworks from blocks away, in the parking lots of Lowes, QFC and Safeway.
The city is also closing Yelm Highway during the period of the fireworks. A needed safety measure, but still a significant problem for drivers.
And topping off the list is the fact that many people won’t get the word and that hundreds, maybe thousands of people will show up at South Sound Center on the Third of July and come away disappointed.
All new events have their problems. I hope the city and the chamber can overcome some of these problems. The annual Third of July fireworks is a great community treat and I hope it continues for decades longer.