July 4 fireworks show will go on in park

By Dennis Minich

While the COVID-19 shutdown may have shuttered many summer plans, the Harrisonville Board of Aldermen gave approval to two events Monday night to give area residents something to do.

The board unanimously approved a July 4 fireworks display in the park and granted a special-use permit for the Harrisonville High School Senior Mania group to host a gathering on the square following the school’s graduation June 26.

The fireworks show will be the only event planned for Independence Day with other events like kids’ games and a concert being cancelled. Instead of saying the fireworks will begin at dusk, the board was told the show would begin at 9:30 p.m. While the day’s program might be cancelled, Police Chief John Hofer said he expects a crowd.

“I think with so many other communities cancelling their events it is going to draw a huge crowd,” Hofer said. “But only so many cars can fit in the park so I don’t think it will be a problem.”

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Deal said the park board had given its approval to the plan and to help with traffic, the use of alternate observation sites will be encouraged. “We know people like to watch from other areas, like the high school, and we will encourage to utilize those,” Deal said.

The Senior Mania request came in response to a need for social distancing at the school’s graduation ceremony at Memorial Stadium. Each senior is only allowed five tickets, so many family members and friends will be left outside. The proposed plan will be following graduation, the seniors will parade around the square twice, then stand in personally designated areas allowing others to come and celebrate with them.

The board also approved a special-use permit for the annual Life Issues Recovery Walk, the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

Four members of the board who were re-elected earlier this month took their oaths of office: Mike Zaring from Ward 1; Judy Reece from Ward 2; David Dickerson from Ward 3 and Matt Turner from Ward 4.

The board heard a presentation about Communities for All Ages, a Mid-America Regional Council initiative to make facilities in participating cities usable and enjoyable for both children and adults. The board passed a resolution expressing a desire to participate in the program.

During City Administrator Brad Ratliff’s report, he noted engineers will be studying leaks in the spillway on Lake Luna in City Park. He said while the leaks are visible, they is no concern about “an imminent breach,” but a plan to address the problem must be made.

He also reminded the board the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have representatives at an open house June 24 to meet with residents about flooding in the
city. He said City Engineer Ted Martin and others will be on hand to address the flooding issues.

Ratliff also told the board the city had received a $30,000 grant for the Lawrence Smith Memorial Airport and indicated the money may be used to repair runway lighting.