By Jeff Gallatin
Community and city officials are looking to spark efforts to obtain funds and volunteers to continue the annual July 4 fireworks at the Bay Day Celebrations.
Funding for the project is now handled primarily through donations to a special fund for the fireworks, administered by the Village Foundation. The fund was set up two years ago after city officials said because of the sluggish economy and tight municipal budgets in recent years, they could no longer afford to foot the entire bill for the fireworks. The foundation received anonymous grants that paid for the fireworks the last two years, at a cost of $11,000 annually, but the donor also asked the foundation to seek the funds from other sources for future years. As a result, a special committee was set up to find the funds for this and future years.
Al Paulus, vice president of the foundation board and chairman of the Grants Committee, said donating funds and/or volunteering for the fireworks committee allows someone to help his or her community.
“When you’re doing something like donating funds, you’re helping further and maintain a community tradition,” he said. “It’s something that’s been a part of Bay and the holiday for a long time.”
Paulus said the foundation will primarily look to citizens for the fireworks donations, but noted businesses or organizations can contribute if they choose.
“The most important thing to remember about it is, it’s a project for the entire community,” he said. “So, we welcome any help or involvement.”
Currently the special fireworks fund has about $3,400 in it, and the initial version of the 2014 city of Bay Village budget has $5,000 in it for the funds. That budget still needs final approval from City Council.
Paulus said funds and additional assistance will be needed even after $11,000 is reached for this year.
“We want to be able to set the foundation for future years because funding the fireworks will be an ongoing event,” he said.
Dwight Clark, chairman of City Council’s Finance Committee and a member of the fireworks committee, said it’s important for the city to be involved in the process.
“We’d like the city to be involved in this as part of a partnership with other members of the community,” he said. “It’s important for the city to support ongoing community projects and events like the fireworks, which make Bay Village the great community that it is.”
Both Paulus and Clark said obtaining additional volunteers for the fireworks committee is also important.
“We need a strong level of community involvement in the project,” Paulus said, adding that the fireworks project fits right in with the foundation’s mission to support community organizations and events with financial and personnel support.
Clark said there were a dozen volunteers at the last fireworks committee meeting, but noted more are welcome.
“That type of event is something we all take pride as something which is a part of Bay Village,” he said.
Clark said people interested in donating or volunteering can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.