Batavia fireworks in jeopardy over lack of money
If you want to see a fireworks show in Batavia this Fourth of July, open your wallet now.
The committee that organizes the show says if it doesn't have $50,000 in its bank account by May 1 it likely won't do a show.
"We definitely don't want to downsize," said Susan Stark, a Batavia alderman who volunteers with the committee.
The committee has $4,500 now. And May 1 is when it has to let the fireworks company know if the show is a go or no-go, she said.
"That's why it is crunchtime," she said.
Volunteers learned about the low balance in November, Stark said.
Normally, the committee carries more in reserve. But last year it took a big hit when Batavia's Loyalty Day Parade was canceled due to a thunderstorm. Volunteers normally walk the parade, collecting $2,000 to $3,000 from spectators.
The committee also hasn't made as much money the past several years off parking donations, as people have started avoiding the lots set aside at Batavia High School, Ace Hardware and Jewel-Osco. The committee has heard people don't like the time it takes to get out of the lots after the show, and would rather park on nearby streets and walk to the event, she said.
Corporate donations are down due to the struggling economy, she said.
And the committee hasn't had enough workers to work the crowd and the parking lots collecting donations, she said.
It costs $35,000 just for the fireworks part of the event; the committee needs the rest of the money for miscellaneous expenses and unanticipated overages. The city donates police, fire and public works services.
On March 10, the committee will have its fourth annual "Books vs. Badges" fundraising basketball game at 4 p.m. at Batavia High School. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for children and senior citizens. Batavia firefighters and police officers will play against Batavia schoolteachers.
It also raises money through registration fees for the Batavia Citywide Garage Sale, held the first weekend in May,
The committee is also selling $2 "Save the Fireworks" lapel pins. And it is open to other ideas, Stark said.
People can also donate online at the "5 Minutes, 5 Friends, 5 Dollars" website.
And checks can be mailed to the "Batavia Fireworks Committee" in care of the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave.
Volunteers would be welcome, Stark said. The committee meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Open Range restaurant, Water and Houston streets.
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