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Columbiana OKs fireworks at Firestone park

COLUMBIANA — Fireworks will still be on display in the Harvey S. Firestone park this Fourth of July, only this time the event is being spearheaded by a new group.

Fireworks in Firestone, a new non-profit organization, was given the green light from city council recently to host the fireworks display this year.

Previously, fireworks were put on by the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce, but that organization opted to move its event to Shaker Woods again after first hosting it there last year. At that time the chamber announced it was only a temporary move because of the construction going on in the park.

However, last week it was decided to not hold a fireworks event at Shaker Woods.

Fireworks in Firestone was organized by local citizens wanting to keep festivities in the park and that effort has gathered steam in only a short while since the idea was conceived.

Tim Spiker, organization president, told city council that the organization has about three-quarters of the necessary funding raised so far, and that he believed more funding would come in once approval was given from city council to move ahead.

City officials were putting a decision on hold until they were satisfied that all matters were being taken care of with regards to safety measures and other details that would prove the new organization would be able to handle hosting the event.

This will be the first year in a long time the event in Firestone Park will not be hosted by the local chamber.

In addition to funding, Spiker said the Fireworks in Firestone organization has received a sponsor for the event stage, has sufficient volunteers and enough parking for roughly more than 1,500 vehicles.

There will also be five concession trailers offering food, he added.

City council approved the organization’s request to host the event during a special meeting on May 31.

Councilman Skip Liston was excused from the meeting and did not vote.

Following the vote, Councilman Dan Bekar said, regarding the amount of public feedback and speculation the chamber decision generated, “I believe that when you tell Columbiana people that you’re doing something and you say that it is going to be there for one year and then change your mind, I think that is where we create our own monster, our own problems. I am not wanting to throw anyone under the bus that is on the chamber because they do a magnificent job but I just think that it needs to be one of those thing, stick by what you say,” he said.

Councilman Dan Dattilio wished to set the record straight.

“I know you weren’t saying that was the case,” he said to Bekar, ” … there has been a lot of talk out there that the chamber lied to us last year. I want to say unequivocally that the chamber when they came to us last year was 100 percent truthful” about returning to the park this year.

Dattilio stressed the chamber decision was made after it had already made its presentation to council regarding hosting the event in the park.

Bekar also wanted to publicly thank Paul Rance and Jack Guy for their involvement hosting the chamber event for more than 25 years.

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