Grand Haven officials reported on the status of the fund during a post-fireworks assessment at a recent City Council work session.
"We had a net gain this year of almost of $5,000,” said Vester Davis, assistant to the city manager. “The current position is about $15,000 in the fund at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. By throwing in another $5,000, now we're at a little bit over $20,000 in there.”
This past year, the city raised more than $30,000 through boat slip sales, food vendor fees, private donations, and contributions from the city and Grand Haven Township. Specifically, both the city and the township contributed $7,500 to the fireworks fund, four waterfront merchants each contributed $300, and a downtown merchant chipped in $100.
Mayor Geri McCaleb said she is appreciative of those who gave to make this year’s display possible.
"I love seeing that huge list of people that are contributors — people, businesses, communities,” she said.
New lease agreements between the city and businesses located in city-owned waterfront properties include language about fireworks fund contributions.
"All of our new leases that come up with tenants, we've added in a provision that they have to contribute to the fireworks fund. It's a great, great event and there's some benefit there," Davis said.
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Davis noted that the city invites downtown businesses to make voluntary contributions to the fund, as well.
“It's just a huge draw and (there are) a lot of benefits to our downtown district and our business district,” he said of the fireworks show.
Davis said the city would eventually like to get to a point where it's a self-sustaining fund so that its and the township’s $7,500 contributions are no longer necessary, “and the fund is just generating ... enough money to provide funding for fireworks for years to come.”
The city took the reigns of fireworks funding and organizing the show in 2010 when the local Jaycees organization disbanded.
"Grand Haven is very much known for its patriotic heart," Davis said. "We got right to it with fundraising, and every year we're trying to get better at fundraising for this fund to get to that point where its self-sustaining and self-reliable. So far, we're doing a great job."