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Fireworks vendor seeks OK to stay in city limits

Fireworks were a topic of discussion again at Tuesday night’sboard of aldermen meeting, as a local fireworks vendor stood beforethe board to ask officials again to consider letting his businessesstay inside the new city limits.

Robbie Covington, of Robbie’s Fireworks, brought the board a setof recent safety statistics, saying fireworks are now much saferthan they were when many fireworks laws currently on the books werewritten.

In addition, he told the board, the sale of fireworks in thecity is not only good for his business, but for city revenue aswell. He said the Exxon at the corner of Highways 51 and 84 had thelargest single day ever on New Year’s Eve, partially due to thetraffic coming from the fireworks stand in the parking lot.

“The city stands to gain tax dollars and permit fees,” he said.”This is not a fly-by-night business. It’s not what it was 50 yearsago.”

Covington told board members that other cities had places theyhad zoned legal for fireworks sales, and that in other cities hehad paid transit vendor permit fees up to $250.

There have been five sites in the new area of the city that havetraditionally been locations for fireworks stands.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron said the main problem he saw isthe idea that shooting fireworks inside the city is illegal, soselling them in the city would seem to be a conflict. Aldermenagreed to look over a copy of the fireworks ordinance recentlygiven to them for consideration by City Attorney Joe Fernald andmeet at a later date to make a decision.

Mayor Bob Massengill also told the board in other discussionthat the seemingly eternal struggle over the proposed Multi-modaltransportation facility may have reached a crucial turnaround. Hesaid in a conference call with AMTRAK on Friday, the agency seemeda little closer to resolving the debate about dock heights.

Canadian National Railroad officials want an 8-inch height whilefederal and Amtrak officials want a 15-inch height. Officials havebeen researching what compromises have been made in other placeswith similar problems.

Massengill said he had spoken with architect Michael Barrancoand that it seemed as though AMTRAK might be ready to compromise.If the eight inches is approved, AMTRAK has said they couldpotentially provide the city with lift equipment for people withhandicaps.

“I feel a little more confident that this could become a realitynow than in the past,” Massengill said.

The mayor also told the board that discussions with Danny Ivy ofRural Development and Michael Boerner of Barranco Architectureindicate that the new police station project may be under way soon.He said cleaning the old Highway Patrol building on Highway 51 ofasbestos is being handled, and meetings with contractors shouldstart sometime this month.