Some simply enjoyed the fact that the restrictions were lifted. Others partook in the new freedom and lit the city skies from their own yards with bottle rockets and other fireworks.
It was all fine and dandy for a while, but many residents soon realized which neighbors would keep them up at night — not just with the noise of the fireworks, but also with the fear in the back of their minds about the capability of those neighbors to light the fireworks off safely.
The close proximity of homes within the city limits was literally brought into a new light for many residents as their neighbors launched the potential fire hazards into the sky. Fire danger is a real threat as West Michigan struggles with drought conditions. Injuries to innocent bystanders are also a possibility.
Police handled 15 complaints regarding fireworks in the city the weekend prior to July 4. These complaints took them away from more pressing matters.
The complaints also made the city aware of the negative side of this new patriotic liberty.
The city held an emergency vote right before Independence Day. The result fizzled city residents’ fireworks freedom for the majority of the year. City of Grand Haven residents can still light off fireworks the day before, the day of and the day after national holidays, and on the second Saturday of the annual Coast Guard Festival.
This compromise of sorts has the best interest of the community in mind. It limits our community’s freedom, but increases safety and sanity for those residing in the city.
Those who don’t care for the noise and potential danger presented by their neighbors celebrating with fireworks only have to endure it during set times. Those who enjoy the aerial fireworks can still indulge during the allotted times.
Whether you’re for or against the aerial displays, at least you’ll know when to expect it. And we’ll all be safer because of it.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.