CEDAR RAPIDS — A group calling themselves “Citizens Against the Use of Fireworks in Cedar Rapids” submitted a petition Thursday with nearly 5,000 signatures and hundreds of comments calling for the prohibition of fireworks in Cedar Rapids.
The petition on Change.org — created a couple weeks into legal fireworks use and sales in Cedar Rapids — generated 4,762 signatures and 139 pages of comments in about two weeks.
“Hopefully the signatures in this petition will help you all see the great scope of the mistake the current fireworks ordinance has been,” the group stated in an email to nine members of City Council and the city clerk accompanying the petition and comments.
Cedar Rapids City Council members already have said they will rethink their stance on fireworks after adopting the most lax rules allowed under a new Iowa law that gave the green light to sales and use of consumer fireworks around the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day holidays, June 1 through July 8 and Dec. 10 through Jan. 3.
The City Council dismissed recommendations for a ban from public safety officials saying fireworks use would be virtually impossible to enforce while sales are legal. Instead, they passed a resolution allowing people to explode fireworks during the same period vendors can legally sell them.
The plan was to evaluate the initial trial with fireworks and make changes if necessary before the December to January fireworks window. Council members have reported more backlash over legalized fireworks than any issue in years, but there’s been enough interest to support 58 licensed vendor locations in Linn County, which is more than any other county.
Several City Council members already have said they will be calling for more stringent controls, if not a ban entirely, when the matter surfaces in the coming weeks.
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According to the email from the petition group, most City Council members were less than responsive to the flood of calls they received.
“Many of our supporters have reached out to the council members receiving this email, but unfortunately very few of those messages were responded to,” the email stated. “We consistently received feedback from Mayor Corbett, the city clerk, and from council member Susie Weinacht. Their feedback was thankful and understanding, and highlighted a desire to work together with our community to improve the current law.”
Meanwhile, another petition on Change.org, urges City Council members to “stand by their decision” regarding fireworks, citing “’Merica” among seven reasons to do so. As of Thursday afternoon, it had been signed by 345 supporters.
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