LSL civic leader says more funding needed to continue annual fireworks display
By: Michael R. Smith
The president of the Lake Saint Louis Ambassadors, Karen Little, says more funding is necessary to continue to provide the city’s annual Independence Day fireworks display. Without additional funding, she said, the fireworks won’t get off the ground in 2014.
One of the most visible activities of the Ambassadors, a civic organization, is producing the city’s annual fireworks program. Little asked the city’s Board of Aldermen at its Nov. 19 meeting to consider giving more money to the organization for the program. The Ambassadors have historically paid about half the fireworks program cost with the city and LSL Community Association paying the rest.
This year, Little said the city provided $7,500 to the $26,000 cost of putting on the fireworks show. Another $5,000 came from the community association. The Ambassadors provided the balance.
“We can’t continue to make up the shortfall,” Little said. “If the city and CA can’t come up with more funds there won’t be a 2014 display.” She told the board that LSL is the only city in the area which has a fireworks display which isn’t solely city-funded.
Mayor Mike Potter said that the city appreciates the Ambassadors for putting on the July 4th fireworks display, and said he’d support a proposed increase in city funding.
“We will put the item on the BOA agenda in the next month or so and try to get a commitment for next year’s budget,” Potter said.
The Ambassadors organization gets most of its funds from its fall Oktoberfest fundraiser. However, that event also raises money for student scholarships and the group’s other activities.
Little said that the Ambassadors have about 30 to 40 active members, most of whom are in their 50s and 60s. “We don’t have the manpower to raise more funds,” she said.
She told the aldermen that she was mentioning the issue now because the Ambassadors organization is negotiating with its fireworks supplier, Gateway Fireworks Displays of St. Louis, for the 2014 through 2016 programs.
Little said the fireworks program costs could rise to $30,000 in 2016. She called Gateway Fireworks the “most reputable, most responsible, most compatible” with the city’s police and local fire departments, so said she hasn’t considered other vendors because of their record of service to the city.