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Residents issue complaints about fireworks
June 26, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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For the past several years around the beginning of July, the Gering City Council has heard complaints about fireworks, and Monday night was no different.

Gering resident Laurie Henkel asked for an agenda item to discuss whether the city could shorten the number of days when fireworks may be discharged. She said it was too late to change the policy for the current year, but gave some suggestions for future consideration.

Under state law, fireworks may be sold between June 25 and July 4. Gering city ordinance allows for their discharge those 10 days.

Henkel said vendors should be able to sell fireworks the entire time. However, the long fireworks season has negative effects on pets, people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, and those who work irregular hours and need to sleep.

She suggested the city plan a day-long July 4 event at some location like Five Rocks Amphitheater where people can go and set off fireworks. Food vendors could also be involved.

Council member Justin Allred said it would be impossible to choose one area. “It might be a good idea, but that’s not where people want to shoot off their fireworks,” he said. “They want to do fireworks with their families and friends and have a barbecue and a celebration.”

He added that neighborly consideration can go a long was in remedying problems. Those would include observing time limits, always having adult supervision and cleaning up the firework debris afterward.

“Enforceability is the problem we’ve faced for several years,” said council member Larry Gibbs. “If we only allow fireworks to be shot off from July 2nd to the 4th and Scottsbluff doesn’t, it will be impossible to enforce. But I do agree we should be stricter in enforcing the time limits.”

The current curfew for shooting off fireworks in Gering is 10:30 p.m. and midnight on July 4.

Council members, several subcommittees and members of the public have discussed what changes could be made to the city’s fireworks policy for several years. The council listened again Monday night, but took no further action.
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