Archive for Thursday, May 8, 2003

City of Eudora has few options with fireworks sales

May 8, 2003

The Eudora City Council is considering whether it should allow fireworks stands in the city. The choice, as the city's attorney made clear, is to allow all vendors who meet city regulations to open fireworks stands to do so, or allow no such stands. The city can't limit the practice to non-profit organizations.

Fireworks have a strange and exceptional place in a society where product-liability lawsuits are commonplace. We overlook their danger to health, property and environment because of the link they provide to our past. They're festive and patriotic. At this time, the city isn't considering their ban.

Given the fact fireworks are going to be with us in Eudora, the Council should open their sales to all. It is doubtful banning fireworks stands in the city would significantly reduce the amount of fireworks shot off during the Fourth of July weekend. They would be available a bike-ride away, even if Douglas County nixed their sale in the county.

Stands do provide money to cash-strapped local youth organizations at a time when economic conditions make fund-raising difficult. Newer for-profit vendors would probably find themselves at a competitive disadvantage to established retailers, both for- and not-for-profit alike.

We would suggest the city consider fire department needs in the discussion. It's a rare Fourth of July weekend that doesn't have at least one fire or accident attributed to fireworks. A special fee for the department would be seem to be a justifiable part of the permit process.

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