FIREWORKS HISTORY AND UPDATE Celebrating the fourth of July holiday at Half Moon Lake has been a family tradition for many of our lake residents going back several generations. There are many pleasant memories for all of us. A number of years ago a lake family began a fireworks display for their family. As time went on, many other lake residents came to watch and enjoy the show. Eventually the family concluded that the display had become too large with liability and other issues, so decided to discontinue the show. It was then that the Half Moon Lake District began to look at the possibility of how to continue.
However, there were a number of issues to deal with; such as funding, liability, permitting, even if it was appropriate for the District to be involved in this type of activity As a government entity, with the authority to tax district landowners, the District has a great deal of latitude as to how tax dollars are used. Water quality issues are the main focus, but State Law also allows for tax dollars to be used to develop a sense of "community". This is why our HML District hosts and provides a lunch at our required annual meeting. Several previous Boards did feel that the fireworks display, open to all on the lake, did in fact help to develop a sense of community.
However, there were a number of property owners who believed that the District should not fund or be involved with the fireworks display. The previous Boards have decided to not challenge that issue, and have not been involved. That has been the Board and District decision. So how have the fireworks been provided? The first year was funded by donations solicited by a mailing to all district members. The liability was addressed by having the Milltown Township become a "sponsor" of the show and have it displayed from the public beach. The first year was a success, but it was determined that soliciting donations via a post card may not be reliably consistent, to provide realistic planning. A couple of lake people took on the task of selling advertising in the newsletter, with all of the revenue used to fund fireworks. This worked well for a number of years.
We have all enjoyed what has become a wonderful event on our lake. Two years ago, though, no ads were sold. This past year, we (a few lake people) worked with our publisher to sell ads, and at this point it looks as if enough revenue will be generated to cover costs, which is about $3,500.00. To put on this show requires the efforts of many volunteers. For the past many years there has not been an official "fireworks committee", so a few people who did not want the fireworks to end, stepped up and did the work. Due to the dedication and generosity of several long time residents (generations) and board members (as individuals, not representing the Board) we have kept the show going.
The current situation cannot continue. Further, there are changes happening at Milltown Township as well. New members are coming onto the Board, who have no interest in hosting the fireworks show as a part of their Board duties.
What to do:
1. Decide if we WANT to continue the fireworks.
2. If YES, decide how to manage, create a fireworks committee.
3. Establish a committee, volunteer. Permanent? Board?
4. Formalize funding source.
5. Deal with billing and collecting ad revenue.
6. Provide insurance.
7. Schedule Fire department.
8. Provide ambulance?
9. Schedule Sheriff on water duty.
10. Obtain permit from Milltown Township.
11. Coordinate movie at beach with Milltown Librarian.
12. Make popcorn and lemonade for the movie. Clean the containers.
This event simply cannot continue under the current circumstances. There needs to be an entity of some sort in charge. A "fireworks event weekend" volunteer committee, willing and able to take on all of the responsibilities, will be the best solution. Please be willing to stand up at the annual meeting and help.