City approves purchase of pyrotechnics for 4th of July and Fisherman's Picnic

There were some questions about fireworks at Grand Marais City Council’s March 26 meeting, but the board nevertheless approved a request from the Grand Marais Lions Club to purchase the pyrotechnics for both the Fourth of July and Fisherman’s Picnic.

Councilor Bob Spry, who is also the person trained and certified to shoot off the fireworks from the beach at Grand Marais Rec Park, presented the request. He said it is basically the same as in previous years, and it’s easier to comply with the federal regulations if the city, rather than the Lions Club, is the entity which applies for and purchases the fireworks. The Lions, as usual, will then reimburse the city for the purchase price of about $6,500 per program.

“There are less hoops to go through this way,” Spry said in reference to the numerous rules and regulations promulgated and enforced by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

In response to a question from City Attorney Chris Hood about the necessary insurance, Spry said he believes the Lions International, not the local chapter, provides it, and he will make sure the policy provides $5 million in liability coverage if that’s what is required.

City Finance Director Kim Dunsmoor said she contacted the city’s insurance agent, Paul Coe, who said he believed Grand Marais has no insurance for fireworks in its policy.

Hood said that, “typically, the city should have a certain level of liability insurance…somebody has to be insured,” and suggested that in lieu of the city providing insurance, the city ought to have some type of license agreement with the Lions Club allowing them to shoot off the fireworks on city property.

Spry and other councilors said they were unsure if such an agreement existed, or exactly how the insurance had been handled in the past. Because City Administrator Mike Roth was not in attendance, and he was the person who probably knew the answers to the questions, council approved the request to purchase the fireworks from J&M Displays of Yarmouth, Iowa contingent on proof of sufficient liability insurance and/or some type of agreement between the Lions Club and the city.