MAN, W.Va. — For many years the Town of Man has had a traditional Fourth of July fireworks show to celebrate Independance Day, and several times over the past few years this has lead to narrowly diverted disasters with roof fires and vehicles damaged by the explosions.
And on April 10, 2017 the mayor of Man told the Town Council that Man might not have a fireworks show this summer after all.
“I spoke with the fire chief and it looks like there may not be a fireworks show this year,” Mayor Jim Blevins explained. “We had some bad accidents last year when some of the fireworks malfunctioned and went off anyway.”
Blevins said the expense of the show was another factor, explaining that to get a certified pyrotechnician costs about $1,000 to $1,500 along with special event liability insurance and the cost of the explosives themselves.
Councilman Roger Muncy said he hated to see the town say goodby to the spectacle and noted that many people came to town to enjoy the traditional fireworks show.
“It would be sad to see us not have fireworks on the Fourth of July,” Muncy said, and asked about starting a collection drive to raise money for such a project. “What does the rest of the council think?” Muncy asked.
“Things have really tightened up in the last year,” Blevins said of the local economy which has seen many people laid off, from coal miners to school employees and others taking huge paycuts to hold onto their jobs. “It could be difficult to raise enough funds….and if you take donations from a thousand different people, and you do not have enough for the fireworks how would you go about refunding that much money in small donations? If you are going to go ahead and do this, I have got to know soon.”
Some other council members present said they would like to see a fireworks show, but admitted it was a lot of money to raise on short notice for a non-permanent project.
In addition to the cost of a fireworks show there are other concerns including public safety and legal liability issues. Four years ago a shell dropped from the bridge and detonated on a woman’s vehicle, noted Mayor Blevins who added that last year the roof of a building near town caught fire.There have been other incidents too, Blevins said.
Muncy asked about support from the local merchant’s association and Mayor Blevins said they were probably strapped for cash too, and pointed out that it was highly unlikely that the Logan County Commission would have any extra funds given how the entire state was facing financial hardship.
“What do you want to do?” Blevins asked. “I need to know something in the next two days.The fire chief said it was too dangerous and it will be hard to find another pyrotechnics person on short notice. They are in demand at that time of the year.”
In other Man news;
*The council heard complaints about local juveniles in the South Man area who have been tossing a ball across the road. On at least one occasion a moving vehicle was struck by the ball leading to an angry confrontation between the motorist and the youths. Mayor Blevins said he would send the Man PD into the area more frequently to patrol the area.
It has become a public safey hazard, noted one council member. Mayor Blevins said the matter may lead to a citation being issued to the offender’s parents.
The town will have a special meeting on April 18 to lay their levy and finalize their 2017-18 budget.
“It won’t take five minutes,” quipped Councilman Roger Muncy.
* Minutes for the March meeting were read and approved as were the financial statements from March.
*Mayor Blevins said that he had not heard anything official, but there has been talk that the official grand opening of the new Route 10 to Logan road being opened earlier than expected around June 1.
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer for Civitas Media and a retired reporter for The Logan Banner. He can be reached by calling 304-752-6950.