Provincetown News and Information
Cape Cod Times | ROBIN LORD
Fireworks will light up the sky over the Cape tip this Fourth of July after the board of selectmen voted last night to reverse an earlier ban on the event this year.
Confident that there will be no repeat of last year’s clashes between police and local youths, selectmen last night approved fireworks for this year’s Fourth of July.
(Times File Photo)
But along with the thousands of revelers that swarm to the display that night will be extra local and state police with cameras, ATVs and horses, as well as a medical tent staffed by Outer Cape Health Services.
Members of the task force put together last week to find a way to rescue the annual event, told the selectmen last night that they had found ways to avoid the alcohol-fueled clashes with police that characterized last year’s fireworks evening. More than three dozen people were arrested or taken into protective custody that night.
Several young people visited selectmen the night after the fireworks to complain about injuries suffered during scuffles with police.
For Selectman Cheryl Andrews, the board’s chairwoman, the memory of those injuries were enough to persuade her to stick with her original vote to prohibit fireworks this year. But her four colleagues on the board endorsed the new plan.
‘’For me the issue was always, always, always about safety, and my comfort level has been taken care of,’’ Selectman Michelle Couture said.
Selectman Sarah Peake agreed, saying her original vote against the event was based ‘’100 percent’’ on fears for public safety. But she said her misgivings were eliminated by the task force’s information last night.
Because of the delay, the event will now be more expensive. After the selectmen’s original vote last month to drop the show, the fireworks company, Ocean State Pyrotechnics, offered the night to the next town on its waiting list, Bellingham.
The company told the task force last week it could still handle Provincetown’s event, but it would need to hire extra workers at an additional cost of $5,000, according to task force member Sandra Turner.
The projected cost for the show this year is between $72,000 and $79,000, of which $29,000 must come from private donations.
An article on the April 3 annual town meeting warrant asking voters to set aside $50,000 for a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks will likely be amended on town meeting floor to omit the words ‘’without fireworks,’’ the task force said.
One of the keys to alleviating safety concerns was an agreement by Outer Cape Health Services to staff a 20-by-20-foot tent behind town hall with a doctor and nurse practitioner to handle any medical issues that may arise that night. In addition, Outer Cape Health’s Provincetown office will be open on July 4 for the first time.
Task force member Marcene Marcoux credited a united front by townspeople and officials to save a special Provincetown tradition.
‘’I view it as incredibly collaborative and creative,’’ she said.
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