Will Marco Island bring back 4th of July fireworks after last year's COVID-19 hiatus?
For years the city of Marco Island has celebrated Independence Day with fireworks, but that tradition was paused in 2020 after City Council failed to pass a motion to sign a contract with a fireworks company.
Former councilors Charlette Roman, Larry Honig and Howard Reed voted in May of last year against the motion citing coronavirus-related concerns such as requesting barely-open businesses to donate money for the event and unmanageable crowds which could have spread the virus. Former Councilor Victor Rios and councilors Erik Brechnitz and Jared Grifoni voted in favor, resulting in a tie.
A motion can only pass when adopted by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of council members present and voting at the meeting.
On May 3, City Council is expected to vote on whether to authorize a contract with Zambelli Fireworks for this year's Fourth of July firework display, Samantha Malloy, manager of parks and recreation with the city, wrote in an email Thursday.
Malloy wrote the city budgeted $65,000 in fiscal year 2021 to make the firework spectacle possible. In 2019, City Council authorized a $59,000 contract with Zambelli Fireworks for that year's Fourth of July fireworks, minutes of the meeting show.
"If Council wishes to host the annual fireworks event, we will begin initiating the contract and publicizing the event," Malloy wrote.
The contract can be cancelled 30 days prior to the event if City Council decides not to host a fireworks event this year, according to Malloy.
Marco Island City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni said Thursday a lot of people on the island are interested in seeing the city's Fourth of July fireworks this year.
"I think it would be a great opportunity for us to celebrate, have a great time, enjoy Independence Day and get back to normal," Grifoni said.
At least one city in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers Beach, has recently announced it will host a Fourth of July firework display after suspending it last year due to the pandemic, according to the town's website.
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Another local organization that canceled its Fourth of July celebrations last year was the Marco Island Civic Association, which has hosted Fourth of July festivities for 35 years, according to Ruth McCann, the organization's executive director.
MICA's typical Independence Day celebration includes games for kids, crafts, face painting, music and a sandcastle building contest on Residents' Beach.
MICA has not made a decision whether to continue its traditional Fourth of July celebrations this year, McCann said Thursday.