Pottstown Gets Help In Lighting Up July 4th Night Sky

SANATOGA PA – When Independence Day fireworks launch from Pottstown’s Memorial Park on the night of July 4 (2012), and explode into awe-inspiring and colorful brilliance, part of that flash-and-bang will be courtesy of the Lower Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners.

It agreed Thursday (July 21) to donate $500 to the Pottstown Fourth of July Committee’s celebration fund-raising effort. But, importantly, commissioners hope other municipalities will chip in and take credit too.

Lower Pottsgrove To Help Light Fill July 4th Night Sky

Vice President Bruce Foltz suggested the donation during the board’s second monthly meeting. He noted the township annually contributes to the Pottstown Regional Public Library, the Visiting Nurse Association of Pottstown, the Pottstown Senior Center, and the Lower Pottsgrove Historical Society, all on behalf of its residents who benefit from those organizations’ activities. The fireworks also fall into that category, he said.

Residents of other surrounding municipalities enjoy the show too, Foltz added, and therein he issued a sort of challenge. He’d like to see Lower Pottsgrove’s companion members in the Pottstown Area Council of Governments donate to the fireworks as well. “Maybe our contribution can open some doors,” Foltz said.

The West King Street park, the borough’s busiest, is annually packed with thousands of people who arrive to enjoy a summer evening, and watch the local pyrotechnic display that marks America’s birthday.

The two-day event is not a borough-sponsored or -funded activity. The committee, consisting of community volunteers, is the non-profit entity formed several years ago solely to raise money for and stage the fireworks and an accompanying parade, entertainment, and festival-like atmosphere.

Fund-raising has always been one of the committee’s greatest struggles, and as the local and national economies have faltered in recent years its job has become harder still. In addition to accepting donations, the committee is selling lottery calendars carrying a grand prize of $1,000; and this year’s homecoming queens from Pottsgrove and Pottstown high schools also are collecting money for the cause.

Committee members this year pegged the cost of the fireworks display alone at about $23,000. The group’s currently available funds fall far short of that amount. Advance donations like that of Lower Pottsgrove can be made by individuals or groups (and any amount is welcomed) by sending a check payable to Independence Day Limited, Attn: Mary Ann Peters, Pottstown School District, 230 Beech St., Pottstown, PA 19464.

Commissioners voted unanimously to support the contribution, but there was some discussion about how the township might be overwhelmed in the future by other fund-raisers seeking similar help. “We can tell them ‘no’ individually,” board President Jonathan Spadt joked, and then added, “we’ve decided on those requests before on a case-by-case basis, and we’ll continue to do that.”

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