Grand Haven’s City Council on Monday night reluctantly voted to cancel the city’s 2021 Fourth of July fireworks show.
The City Council had considered canceling the show a month ago, but agreed to hold off in hopes that COVID-19 numbers, both locally and statewide, would be trending in a more positive direction.
Instead, over the past week, Ottawa County has averaged nearly 200 new COVID-19 cases per day. In the first two weeks of April, the county has nearly matched the number of cases reported in the month of March.
Ashley Latsch, assistant to the city manager, said the Ottawa County Department of Public Health recommended the cancellation of the July 4 fireworks show.
“Health concerns still largely exist due to the public health situation, and cases are rising in the community and across the county,” Latsch said.
“It’s not the answer that we wanted, but it’s the answer we have to eventually deal with,” Councilman Dennis Scott said.
When the council pushed back its decision last month, it agreed to pay a $5,000 deposit with the company hired by the city to produce the show. Latsch said that Wolverine Fireworks Display Inc. pushed back the due date of a deposit to April 13, which means the city did not have to spend that money on a show that was ultimately canceled.
Mayor Bob Monetza said that pulling the plug on the fireworks show is disappointing, but inevitable.
“I’m glad we took some time and did some initial investigation, but things have not gotten better,” he said. “From our point of view, hosting this comes down to public health and public safety. We have an unusually large, popular event in an unusual congested place. That makes it very challenging.
“I would very much like to have this event take place. We all would like that,” Monetza added.