Cumberland Times-News

July 6, 2013

Now’s the time

City should make sure 2014 fireworks go off without a hitch

Cumberland Times-News

— Surely the city of Cumberland learned a lesson about the way it handled this year’s Fourth of July fireworks display.

The fireworks display nearly didn’t happen. It should not have been as difficult as city officials made it.

For one thing, they knew a year ago that the fireworks staging area would have to be moved away from the Allegany County 911 Center in Constitution Park. Nevertheless, it was only a few weeks before the holiday that the city finally determined the fireworks would be moved to an athletic field across town at Bishop Walsh School.

Then an 11th hour problem with insurance cropped up. It was not until late Wednesday afternoon — little more than 24 hours before the fireworks display was scheduled to occur — that the city finally announced a new, improvised site in Constitution Park. The new site was far enough away from the 911 Center to allow the fireworks to be set off. Why wasn’t this new location — about 100 yards away from the old park fireworks staging site — selected right away, without involving BW?

Even the improvised site was problematic. The Times-News learned that fireworks debris rained down on several automobiles on the parking lot next to the tennis courts — an area the public was told would be safe to use. Cars should never have been permitted to park so near to the fireworks site.

When City Hall reopens Monday morning after the long holiday weekend, it would be the perfect time to begin making preparations for the 2014 fireworks display. Do it now — rather than put the citizenry through another torturous experience like the one that preceded this year’s fireworks.