The club uses money raised at the fireworks display to fund programs for the blind, diabetic and needy.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- The Canfield Lions Club wants local residents to pay to watch next year's July Fourth fireworks from the Mill Creek MetroParks farm parking lot.
Carol Potter, the parks' public relations and marketing director, said the club has asked to rent the parking lot on the night of next year's display so they can charge local residents watching fireworks. Many local residents park in the lot each year to watch the fireworks, which are set off across the street at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
They do not have to pay a fee, as the lot is owned by the parks. The lot has about 40 spaces.
The Lions Club charges $10 for each car driven into the fairgrounds to watch the fireworks. Potter said the club wants to charge local residents less than $10 to watch the fireworks from the parking lot. No fee has been set, she said.
Park board members expressed concern about the club's proposal, and said they're not sure they can allow the club to charge residents to park in a lot that is maintained using tax revenue. The board discussed the proposal at a meeting Wednesday night.
"I'd rather give them $100 out of my pocket and forget the parking," board President Harry Meshel said. Board member M. Virginia Dailey added, "That's the downside of having such an open display, is that you can't force people to pay."
Potter said the club didn't collect enough money this year to pay about $7,000 in bills for the fireworks. A letter to Potter from club President Charles Tieche, who also is Canfield's city manager, states money collected at the fireworks pays for programs to help the blind, diabetic and needy.
Potter also noted that organizations aren't allowed to collect money through fund-raisers on park property. She added that local residents weren't pleased when the lot was closed for the Canfield Fair in the past.
The park board agreed to wait until their next meeting to vote on the request.
"We understand their predicament and we're open to discussion because we know they do an excellent job," Dailey said.
On Wednesday, the park board also accepted a $134,743 bid from McCourt Construction Co. of Girard to resurface Cross and Valley drives in the park and a $72,921 bid from Butch and McCree Paving of Hillsville, Pa., to pave cart paths on the park golf course.
The bid calls for the company to pave the paths around the greens and tees on the park's south course. The work is expected to be complete within the next few weeks.
The resurfacing of Cross and Valley drives is expected to be complete by the end of August. The drives are closed for the work.