Saturday, June 02, 2001

Hamilton drops 4th fireworks

New state law, costs force issue

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON - No exploding shells will illuminate the city's riverfront and dazzle spectators during this year's July 4 Celebration.

        City and civic leaders said they were forced this week to cancel the fireworks extravaganza in light of a new state law placing tighter restrictions on fireworks events. City officials said they would have had to pay overtime for fire inspectors — in addition to overtime for police security. The city, already cash-strapped, said it could not afford the extra cost.

        “It just became financially impossible,” said Dave Belew, president of the Hamilton Community Foundation.

        Acting Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Dawson said because of the state law, the city had planned to move its fireworks display from the downtown riverbank to a low-level dam area about a mile downriver.

        The move was to improve safety for crowds watching the display and for nearby buildings, he said. But because the area has no natural barriers, more police officers would have been required.

        “It all boils down to a money issue,” the acting chief said.

        Still, Mr. Belew said he expects the July 4 Celebration, which will include a parade, entertainment, music, food and a Civil War re-enactment, to draw a large crowd.

        “We think we have a big draw with the music,”' he said. “We're expecting a big crowd.”

        Enquirer reporter Steve Kemme contributed.


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