Chesterton Tribune

Town of Porter funds lakefront fireworks

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By PAULENE POPARAD

The Porter Town Council agreed Tuesday to sponsor the July 3 fireworks at the Indiana Dunes State Park by entering into contracts for the pyrotechnics display launched from a barge on Lake Michigan.

Council members also voted unanimously to pledge $3,000 out of CEDIT funds toward the event, and to provide in-kind support services through town departments like Police, Fire and Public Works.

Heather Ennis of the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce said this will be the fourth year for the Duneland-area fireworks, which last year drew a crowd of 8,000 people who also enjoyed food vendors and entertainment at the lakefront.

A vote on Ennisí proposal almost didnít take place. Porter council member Jeannine Virtue moved to table the request but it died for lack of a second; she said while not opposed to it, she wanted more time when a request for money is made.

Ennis asked that the council at least approve being the eventís primary sponsor so necessary arrangements can be made and contracts signed.

Member Elka Nelson said Ennis provided the council with information about her request last month, she was prepared to answer questions last night, and that Porter needs to move forward to give other communities confidence the fireworks will take place.

Vote on Nelsonís subsequent motion to approve was 4-0 with Virtue voting yes and member Bill Cantrell absent.

It costs about $25,000 to put on the fireworks show, said Ennis, and last year Chesterton donated $2,500 and a like amount in staff services; Burns Harbor donated $2,200. Event organizers apply for grants and solicit additional donations, said Ennis, and any unspent money rolls over for the following year.

Porter police chief James Spanier said shuttle buses used last year worked well. Nelson agreed the buses relieve traffic congestion and make the event more accessible to those who otherwise wouldnít drive to the State Park.

Ennis confirmed a shuttle service again will be offered with stops at both Chesterton Middle School and Yost Elementary School in Porter.

ďItís a special show,Ē she added, ďand thereís no better place to watch the fireworks. Itís pretty cool to see everybody work really well together.Ē

The Porter Park Board, in cooperation with the Duneland Business Initiative Group, is soliciting donations for a smaller-scale fireworks display July 4 at Porterís downtown Hawthorne Park to cap a day of tri-town festivities there including a parade.

 

 

Posted 4/11/2012