Red X says
by Kathy Crawford
Independence Day celebrations may have ended two weeks ago, but fireworks remained a hot topic at the Riverside Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night.
One man from the community brought in a spent missile packed with dirt that he found in his yard. He said that the law is not enforced, specifically one stating that a person must be 125 feet from any structure when shooting off fireworks. He said he would like to see a ban on discharging aerial fireworks all together and the law enforced. Another community member agreed, saying he still hasn’t been able to remove all of the firework debris since July 4 from his new roof.
But Zeke Young from Red X defended the sale of fireworks and asked the aldermen to reverse an ordinance passed last year to ban the sale of bottle rockets.
“One of the unique draws (for Riverside) has, of course, always been fireworks,” said Young. He said that he estimates the loss of additional revenue for the city this year due to the ban of bottle rockets to be $12,000 to $28,000.
Young said that some of his regular customers from Kansas came in – one family from Topeka – and asked where the bottle rockets were. When he told them they were banned this year, they asked where they could get some. He begrudgingly sent them to Parkville.
“I’ve always felt Riverside was better than Parkville,” said Young. “We’re more aggressive than Parkville. We’ve got more to offer than Parkville. Right now Parkville’s got something that we started, and now they’ve capitalized on it.”
Young argued that next to the casino, fireworks are the biggest economy generators. Drawing people in, including from Kansas, is to the city’s advantage, he said. Those same customers eat and buy gas while they are in town.
“When they cross that river, I’d much rather have them take a right and come into Riverside rather than take a right going down to Parkville,” said Young. “I would just like to ask some consideration to reinstitute the sale of bottle rockets again.”
Alderman Mark Salyer said that some people do not have a problem with fireworks, but others do.
“We want to be able to accommodate the merchants, but we have to find common ground,” Salyer said.
Alderman Mike Fuller said that he has heard of other communities banning fireworks outright, but that it is difficult to enforce. Police Chief Gregory Mills agreed, saying that even if he had everyone from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department to help, he didn’t think it could be done.
“It is unenforceable for the most part,” he said.
Also at the meeting, a YMCA representative gave a presentation and sought direction from the aldermen about using the community center to meet the needs of area youth. Options included a basketball program, a baseball clinic to coincide with a picture day and a Friday adult night out, when parents could leave their children for a few hours. He said that financial assistance would be available for everyone who needs it. Future opportunities still in the works for 2008 include adding group exercise classes and collaborating on swim lessons for youth.
“I think every kid needs to know how to swim,” said mayor Kathy Rose.
The Riverside aldermen also discussed these issues:
•City administrator David Blackburn reported that Cheryl Thorp, director of Platte County Visitors Bureau, is providing services to establish a tourism board.
•Brent Miles, director of planning and economic development, discussed bids for the 2007 Street and Sidewalk Maintenance Project and recommended that Riverside enter into a contract with McAnany Construction for about a half million dollars, which was considerably less than the budgeted $2 million. The ordinance passed unanimously. The project should be completed by the end of October.
•Chief Mills asked for authorization to purchase two new vehicles: a 2008 E Series Cargo Van and a 2008 Crown Victoria for about $20,000 each, both under the budgeted amount. The purchases were approved.
•A new telephone system costing about $20,000 was also approved.
Bills that were passed amending Municipal Code of the City of Riverside, Missouri
•No. 2007-66: An Ordinance amending the “Court Costs.”
•No. 2007-72: An Ordinance amending “Accessory Use and Structure Development and Operation Standards.”
•No. 2007-73: Disbursements to Pay Certain Indebtedness.
•No. 2007-76: An Ordinance approving the form of and authorizing the Mayor to complete and execute an agreement by and between Riverside and Body Fit, LLC for the use of the City Annex.
•No. 2007-79: An Ordinance amending “Definitions” and “Passenger Restraint System Required for Children under Four Years” chapters.
•2007-80: An Ordinance authorizing Riverside to employ Peter A. Edlund as a full-time public safety officer.
•2007-81: An Ordinance authorizing and approving Riverside to enter into a cost participation agreement with Missouri Gaming Company for road improvement projects.