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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lakewood Unable To Present Fireworks Display

5/23/2006 - LAKEWOOD — There will be no fireworks for Lakewood residents on the Fourth of July, but this time around it’s not because they’re too dangerous.At Monday’s meeting, village board members decided to abandon their pursuit of a fireworks display because new regulations at the national level have made them ‘‘impossible’’ for Hartley Park.‘‘Because of the regulations, we just can’t do it,’’ said Mayor Tony Caprino. ‘‘We won’t be able to have fireworks.’’According to village officials, as in previous years, a professional fireworks display for their Fourth of July celebration was something they were pursuing.‘‘We said we were going to have fireworks, but when we contacted the company they said they need 600 feet of space,’’ Caprino said referring to a comment he made at a previous meeting assuring residents there would be a fireworks display. ‘‘We only have 250 feet, so that’s impossible.’’‘‘We just can’t comply with that,’’ he added.The National Fire Protection Association policies that regulate the distance pedestrians must be from the pyrotechnics are based on mortar size. The fireworks Lakewood officials had in mind would require a 600-foot buffer, and Caprino noted the smallest ones the company could provide would still require a 350-foot buffer — still too much for Hartley Park.‘‘I don’t think we should put the Village of Lakewood in that position,’’ he said.Joe Troche, village board member, said he looked into another company with similar results.‘‘Even with his guidelines we’re still too short,’’ he said. ‘‘So we have a problem.’’Last year, Lakewood Village Board members decided fireworks were just ‘‘too dangerous’’ and cancelled the display, resulting in a backlash from residents. At the time, board members argued residents closest to the display felt the same way.‘‘It seems the farther you go from the actual fireworks, the more you want them,’’ Troche told The Post-Journal in May 2005.

As a result, a deal was struck with a waterfront property owner across Chautauqua Lake in Ellery, who set off fireworks from the shoreline. But the absence of the traditional fireworks display was blamed by some for a less-than-enthusiastic Fourth of July experience.
It’s unclear whether another such resident across the lake will come forward once again to salvage the holiday for those who celebrate it the old-fashioned way — watching things explode.

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