Spring Valley council weighs summer fireworks options

Last year’s success with GROW Spring Valley event worth reflection

The Spring Valley Independence Day fireworks were postponed to Friday, Aug. 18. The fireworks will conclude a citywide celebration that will include the final Friday Night Market of the season and the Hall High School football scrimmage game.

Last summer’s dry weather that delayed Spring Valley’s annual Independence Day fireworks into a coupling with the GROW Spring Valley’s Friday Night Market yielded one of the city’s biggest and best celebrations in recent memory.

Will that happen again or will there be two fireworks shows in town? The Spring Valley City Council is weighing its options.

The postponed fireworks provided the GROW event with the potential for such a huge finish that the latter moved from the downtown in Spring Valley to Kirby Park, just down the block from Hall High School, the ever-popular venue for viewing the patriotic display for several decades now.

That change helped make the display, the market and that final day “an amazing success,” said Alderman Dave Pellegrini.

Now GROW Spring Valley has asked the council it be allowed to keep a fireworks display a part of the final Friday Market celebration on Aug. 16, launching it from a place that is visible from Coal Miners Park and the downtown.

GROW believes while Kirby Park is an “amazing asset” as it said in a statement, it is not as accessible to those in wheelchairs who are enjoying the Friday Night Market. Additionally, it would give the city the chance to showcase the ever-improving downtown area.

As the group has offered to pay for its own fireworks display without the use of taxpayer funds, the city has two options: to keep its traditional Independence Day show as it has been, weather permitting, or to approve and possibly contribute to a later show connected to Friday Night Market’s finish and use the fireworks funds for other park projects.

Ultimately, GROW needs approval from the council to host what could be the second show of the summer.

The council’s initial reaction seemed to favor keeping the displays separate, with the Fourth of July show still in its original location, but all minds seems open to the possibilities, thanks to last year’s success.

“I have two concerns,” said Pellegrini, also chairman of the Park Board that has always organized and produced the Fourth of July fireworks display. “One is consistency: is this something there we’re going to do, to relocate the fireworks? It’s something that’s been done at Hall for decades and people are accustomed to that.

“Also, it’s the people who want to view them. When you have the benefit of Hall High School, with people in the football stands, you’re doing them right there, so you can put hundreds of people there in those stands, like we generally do, something you don’t have at the park.

“In general, people don’t like change … But if that’s what we as a group determine, then I’m in. I’m good with it.”

The council decided to table the issue for now. It will be meeting with GROW Spring Valley to discuss the matter on Thursday.

In other action, the council:

Agreed to donate $300 to the Better Fishing Association’s Kids Fishing Expo and Tournament and $100 to the University of Illinois Extension Office.

Heard from Police Chief Adam Curran that his officers’ body cameras are now fully implemented and that they “like them better than they thought they would.”

Heard from City Engineer Mike Richetta that there is a problem with a sand separator at City Well #10 and a substantial repair or replacement of the pump may be in order.

Tabled the discussion regarding bids for the new roof on City Hall. Approved Mayor Melanie Thompson’s proclamations declaring May 18-24 National Safe Boating Week and the entire month of May Motorcycle Awareness Month.

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