Council douses fireworks

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Eureka Springs aldermen discussed last week’s “Six Weeks of Fun” promotion at the Monday, June 22, city council meeting. Four people watched from the auditorium audience versus the 40 voices from last week who opposed summer events during the public health pandemic.

No participants of last week’s proposal to the mayor and council were in attendance Monday, but as a result of their request to privately fund a fireworks event over downtown for the 4th of July, alderman Terry McClung asked Mayor Butch Berry to prepare a pyrotechnics resolution for a council vote.

Last week the mayor was praised by citizens, and again Monday by aldermen, for placing a hold on all special event permits until September for the health of the town. But on Monday evening the mayor was ready to make an exception to his own rule by allowing fireworks for July 4 festivities. A resolution was written, ready to be made legal and even tweaked to require pyrotechnic pros igniting fireworks to attain a million-dollar liability insurance policy.

Alderman Bob Thomas directly asked the mayor why he would allow this, and Berry replied he was prepared to see this through because he believes the public doesn’t realize this is the 141st birthday of Eureka Springs, “and I happen to like fireworks.”

Alderman Mickey Schneider had not forgotten that just seven days earlier citizens at the Auditorium spoke out against public events during a pandemic, and reminded council, “One hundred percent absolutely, positively, no fireworks this year.”

Alderman Melissa Greene tried to encourage the mayor to hold firm to his temporary No-Permit policy, saying she supports the mayor’s actions to halt activities until September.

McClung argued adamantly in favor of the event saying people would be spread out for safety. “It won’t be heavily advertised,” he added.

Ultimately, McClung’s argument only won him one vote, that of alderman Susan Harman. The fireworks’ resolution was shot down by four of six aldermen, placing an official stay on the mayor’s city birthday celebration for the purpose of public health.

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