Donations can result in fireworks

City accepting funds to help pay for Fourth of July show

(Stillwater Gazette File Photo)
(Stillwater Gazette File Photo)

The city of Stillwater seeks donors interested in getting big bangs for their bucks.
The city is accepting donations to help fund the annual Fourth of July fireworks show on the St. Croix River. The 2012 show cost about $35,500 and Stillwater City Administrator Larry Hansen said the city wants to hold a better show this year.

“We hope to make the display bigger and better than ever,” he said. “We’re looking at bigger fireworks. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
The Oak Park Heights City Council Tuesday agreed to donate $7,000 to the holiday fireworks show.  The city donated the same amount to last year’s display.

Oak Park Heights City Administrator Eric Johnson said the donation will be made after the city’s 2012 audit is finished. He added that Oak Park Heights expects to have an unallocated surplus after the audit.

“I think it’s wonderful that they think their citizens benefit from the show,” Hansen said about Oak Park Heights’ donation.

He added that the Fourth of July fireworks is one of the St. Croix Valley’s most popular annual events.

“It is the number one event. We have families come down and sit in lawn chairs or on blankets to watch,” he said. “Other than traffic, we don’t have any police problems (with the display).”

The city of Stillwater took over production of the Fourth of July fireworks show last year after the city council severed ties with St. Croix Events, the company that previously organized the fireworks display and other events, including Lumberjack Days.

The council’s decision on St. Croix Events came after company president David Eckberg was charged by the Washington County Attorney’s Office with several counts of issuing bad checks and writing checks on accounts with insufficient funds. Eckberg and his wife have since filed for bankruptcy.

Along with fireworks, the 2012 display featured a military flyover and music simulcast with the show. Hansen said he was approached by several businesses after last year’s show that were interested in donating to future displays.

“That was a pretty good display,” he said about the 2012 show. “I’d like to ramp it up and donations would help us do that.”

Hansen said he’s seeking donations now because companies that design fireworks shows are starting to sign contracts for this summer’s shows.

“We have to enter into a contract soon. These guys can only put on x- number of shows on the Fourth of July,” he said.

Any person, group or business interested in donating to the show can write a check to the City of Stillwater and write “fireworks donation” in the memo line, Hansen said. Any donations are considered tax deductible charitable gifts and anyone needing more information can call City Hall, he added.

Hansen said both donors and residents could see a bigger fireworks display and possibly another flyover.

“Mike’s working on a flyover again,” Hansen said about Councilman Mike Polehna talks with military officials. “We’re also working on getting a couple of Blackhawk helicopters to fly over.”