Marco Island to celebrate July 4th with fireworks after COVID-19 hiatus
Marco Island City Council voted unanimously Monday to support a Fourth of July fireworks display after it was not approved last year due to COVID-19 concerns.
City Councilor Erik Brechnitz said it would be a "wonderful" event for the island.
"I think that after a year of living in isolation this island deserves a celebration," Brechnitz said.
City Councilor Greg Folley said he supports the fireworks display.
"We have put this on hold long enough," Folley said.
City Councilor Chairman Jared Grifoni said he missed the Independence Day fireworks celebration that was cancelled last year.
"The island missed it terribly last year," Grifoni said.
City Councilor Becky Irwin said she has received many communications from residents about the fireworks display.
"Nobody is opposed to it that I've heard," Irwin said.
Samantha Malloy, manager of parks and recreation with the city, said the city budgeted $65,000 in fiscal 2021 to make the fireworks spectacle possible.
"We are currently working on receiving a quote from (the firework company)," Malloy said.
Malloy said City Council will consider approving the fireworks display contract once the fireworks company submits a quote for its services.
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.
City Manager Mike McNees said local businesses have so far committed $10,000 for the fireworks display.
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 will not do its traditional Fourth of July celebrations again this year, but Residents' Beach will remain open to its members throughout the fireworks display, McCann said Tuesday.
Then-councilors Charlette Roman, Larry Honig and Howard Reed voted in May of last year against the motion to have the fireworks display. They cited coronavirus-related concerns such as requesting barely open businesses to donate money for the event and unmanageable crowds which could have spread the virus. Then-councilor Victor Rios and councilors Brechnitz and 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.
At least two cities in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs, have recently announced they will host a Fourth of July fireworks display after suspending them last year due to the pandemic.