Fundraising underway for fireworks show

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

A July 4 fireworks show will go on at Lions Park in Elk River, and now an effort is underway to pay for it.

The city of Elk River is seeking donations to close about a $4,000 gap between the amount already in hand and the $15,000 cost of the fireworks.

The city became the lead entity on producing the July 4 fireworks show after Jim Boyle stepped down as chair of the Elk River Independence Day Committee that put on an annual July 4 event at Lions Park. Boyle was unable to get someone to replace him as chair.

Mayor John Dietz talked to the City Council in May about having the city ensure that the fireworks show would happen. The council voted unanimously June 2 to spend about $3,000 in budgeted city funds to help pay for the fireworks.

This year’s event will consist only of the fireworks show at Lions Park. No other activities are planned at the park.

Total cost of the event is $15,000 for fireworks and $1,950 for event-related expenses, according to City Administrator Cal Portner. Those related expenses tentatively include police or traffic control ($1,000), fire watch ($400), liability insurance ($250), portable toilets ($200) and Lions Park building attendant ($100).

The city already has $5,000 in the 2014 budget to cover those event-related costs, which total $1,950 due to the scaled-back nature of the event. The remaining $3,050 or so will be used to help pay for the fireworks. Additionally, the Elk River Economic Development Authority earlier earmarked $6,000 for the fireworks, as it has in other years.

The Independence Day Committee also has about $1,800 left over from last year that can help pay for the 2014 fireworks show.

All told, about $4,000 needs to be raised to fully cover the cost of the fireworks.

People interested in donating should make checks out to: City of Elk River: Fireworks, and mail them to 13065 Orono Parkway, Elk River, MN 55330.

As of June 11, $105 had been raised, but Boyle said past donors are being contacted. Two have committed to giving $500 each and additional organizations and businesses are being asked to contribute.

Meanwhile, Dietz said a citizen contacted him about possibly moving the fireworks back to Lake Orono.

Dietz said Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe is open to the possibility of moving it in 2015, but not in 2014 due to the short time frame before the July 4 holiday. Dietz said the location of the fireworks show is something the council could talk about after the 2014 event and in preparation for next year.

For many years, the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a Fourth of July celebration at Orono Park but the chamber ended its run after the 2008 event. No Fourth of July event was held in Elk River in 2009. The Elk River Independence Day Committee held its inaugural event in 2010 at Lions Park and organized it until this year.