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No fireworks display this Fourth of July in Cape, vets group says

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Four years after Cape Girardeau officials said they no longer could afford to bankroll the Fourth of July celebration at Arena Park, a group of U.S. veterans that took over the celebration at that time now is saying the same thing.

USA Veterans, a local veterans group, said on Monday it cannot see a way to clear up the financial hardship to pay for the $10,000 fireworks display this year after the group bought the building that formerly housed Ed's Bar and the Pink Squirrel at 519 Good Hope St., said organization commander Roger "Zig" Ziegler.

"We are feeling really bad because we can't present this to the community this year, again," Ziegler said. "We want to do this every year. We think it brings the community closer together. We are very disappointed."

Ziegler said the organization felt strongly about buying the building where the organization originated. The group, Ziegler said, felt it would be a homecoming of sorts considering the group met regularly there when it was a bar. The group was dismayed to learn, Ziegler said, that the building had fallen to severe disrepair and required more money than they anticipated to repair it.

Wiring had to be repaired, he said, along with walls and many other fixtures. The group is struggling to make enough money to have the roof repaired, which Ziegler said is sorely needed. The expenses depleted the money earmarked to pay the balance of last year's Fourth of July event and to serve as seed money for this year's celebration, he said.

Ziegler stressed that none of last year's money was spent on buying the building and the organization had obtained a loan for the purchase. USA Veterans spends about $10,000 on fireworks a year, he said, along with more than $1,000 to rent the park, $1,000 for portable toilets, $5,000 for a demolition derby and almost $3,000 for a sound system. Many of last year's bills have yet to be paid, Ziegler said.

"We're not happy about it," he said. "But we don't know what else to do."

While the change of plans is sure to disappoint many in the community, Convention and Visitors Bureau director Chuck Martin said it won't be a hit as far as revenue being brought in from outside the area.

Most of those who attend are from Cape Girardeau, Martin said, and simply come and watch the fireworks and go home.

"Don't get me wrong: Not that we wouldn't love to see us have the celebration every year," Martin said. "But it won't be taking many dollars away from restaurants and things like that."



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Maybe with the new revenue from the casino the city will put on a fireworks display again. If nothing else maybe the casino will treat Cape Girardeau to a fireworks display. That way all of the citizens of Cape will gain something from the casino.

-- Posted by Hookie98 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 2:07 AM

Down on the river like it use to be or the airport where they had an outstanding fireworks display. The Arena Park is not a good location at all.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 5:17 AM

The vets group deserves a big thank you for carrying on for a few years after the City stopped. This is definitely something the City should do, and not depend on vets groups, or anyone else. Independence Day is an important holiday and we should not forget what it stands for.

-- Posted by dmt49 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 7:03 AM

WHY should the city have to pay for it? Buy your own fireworks and see what the costs are! Why should people always rely on others?

-- Posted by Bman69 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 7:47 AM

I think the SEMO Fair group needs to foot the bill... they make plenty of revenue on their week long activity!

-- Posted by Kadybug on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 8:00 AM

I think it would be an excellent idea for the Casino to present the city with an outstanding fireworks display. Stage it at the riverfront with bands and food vendors like they used to do. I really haven't seen the community receive any benefit from the casino yet. This would show some committment from them to our downtown.

-- Posted by Good Hoper on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 8:11 AM

This is good news. With it being so dry and hot in the summer these days, fireworks aren't needed, nor advised. For those wanting to see fireworks, there's plenty of displays all over the state to go see, but under no circumstances should the town foot the bill to see money go up in smoke. The casino should not present the towns people with fireworks either. Nobody should want to see $10K go up in smoke in these very uncertain economical times.

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 8:23 AM

I think it's an excellent idea to approach the Casino It's a tradition the kids love, a family night. My grand daughter always came home during the summer and that was the one thing that was one of her best memories of being a child she still talks about. Still her favorite holiday.

-- Posted by Sunflower Girl on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 8:45 AM

I think all fireworks should be banned!!!!

They are a nuisance at best.

-- Posted by glock_556 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 8:55 AM

I think it's terrible that the park charges for using it for this. It's it a city park? Maybe I'm wrong about that.It's not the casino's place to put on a fireworks show. They are a business. Do other businesses in Cape put on a show?

-- Posted by scared of the future on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 9:33 AM

Government don't need to be in the firework display business this should be done by a group of businesses in the private sector.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 9:57 AM

How to Slow Down Tourism this is the way for Cape Girardeau

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 10:16 AM

Maybe the Old Town Cape people should put one on. They're always complaining about people not going downtown, and how we should all be doing so. Here's a chance for them to put their money where their mouth is.

-- Posted by gomer on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 11:10 AM

Where's Beldar when you need him?


-- Posted by bbollmann on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 11:22 AM

Cape can't afford it? Bull s*** !They just don't want to take the responsibility. They're getting money hand over fist from the new casino and they can't afford it?

-- Posted by drummz54 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 11:47 AM

i miss riverfest

-- Posted by TommyStix on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 2:15 PM

Well thank you Vets for doing it in the past, really appreciated!

-- Posted by ssnkemp on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 3:39 PM

IOC financials suggest they can not afford a $10,000+ expense. (ie Operating loss for several years.) However, IOC and the City of Cape have a contractual $250,000 matching fund to attract business to downtown.

A downtown July 4th tradition would be a good thing and a wise choice with regard to getting family oriented people traffic roaming around downtown.

-- Posted by .com on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 5:00 PM

$10k up in smoke. Thanks for hosting it vets. I don't blame ya.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Tue, Feb 26, 2013, at 9:25 PM

The Vets group should ask the VFW to pay for the show this year,

-- Posted by Yankee Station on Wed, Feb 27, 2013, at 7:24 AM

Much to do about nothing here folks. No great loss

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Feb 27, 2013, at 10:52 AM

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