Maplewood's 4th of July Fireworks - Should the Fences Come Down?


wrote last month that those who do not pay for the Maplewood fireworks but sit and watch them anyway were akin to thieves. This brought a great mixed reaction, some agreeing with me while others claiming such a viewpoint was unfair to those who cannot afford it.

Then there were some who called it racist since many of those who do not or cannot pay are people of color. One person even accused the Township of purposely keeping certain groups out of the fenced-in paid areas. Ridiculous. 

I pointed out that the $16,000 cost of the sky show, and the overall $32,000 price tag for the entire day of events and attractions, was not covered by township funds or any other entities. I did note that sponsorships were on the increase, but that much of the cost was still paid with ticket sales.

Sign Up for E-News

Still, the entire debate raised an important issue: the feeling that fencing off fireworks and making people pay to see them in a public park was uncomfortable at best and unfair at worst.

And it looks like changes are coming, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, July 18.

Several Township Committee (TC) members said they were looking at ways that might allow a free display with funding from increased sponsorships and even some Township funds. 

“We'll be discussing this at the next TC meeting Tuesday,” Deputy Maplewood Mayor Nancy Adams said via email. “I expressed my concerns about fencing off the whole park last year, but was willing to give it another year. I'm sure I'm not alone on the TC in wanting the fireworks, or at least the whole park, to be open to all and the need to find another way to fund besides charging.”

Tuesday’s meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Maplewood Police and Courts building on Springfield Avenue.

TC member Greg Lembrich also chimed in on Facebook shortly after my initial column ran, stating, in part: “I am increasingly uncomfortable with the traditional arrangement. The celebration is in a public park and uses significant taxpayer resources, but is not accessible to all residents. I do not blame the MCA [Maplewood Civic Association] or 4th of July Committee for this at all; they do what they have to do to run the event, and they do an outstanding job. As I've said before though, because ‘it has always been this way’ is an unacceptable reason to perpetuate inequality. I think the community has reached a tipping point where exclusion from the full benefits of citizenship in SOMA based on inability to pay will no longer be tolerated.”

Township Committeeman Frank McGehee added via email, “There will be a post mortem meeting/conversation regarding the event and many topics including admission will be raised and ideas will be shared regarding exploring alternative options.”

Asked for his view, Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca emailed only, “I am not in favor of using Township funds to pay for the fireworks show.” TC Member India Larrier has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Democratic TC candidate Dean Dafis said a change is needed, stating via email, “I think the event needs to be free. People already pay enough for their food and kids' activities. And, some folks also paid for the run/walk earlier in the morning. The circus needs to go. The entire event needs to be revamped including creating a strong finance/fundraising committee towards getting sponsors to cover the event. If we're taking about $16k, that's not a lot of money to raise in a town such as ours.”

Republican TC Candidate Mike Summersgill, who is on the July 4th Committee, has yet to offer a view after being asked via email.

Perhaps a mix of funding, part donations, part Township subsidy and more efforts for sponsorship is the way to go. But as long as the cost is covered in a way that is fair, let the fences come down and the fireworks continue to go up.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Spring is (Almost) Here

Get ready for farmers markets and outdoor events, spring is bound to come at some point! To help you get ready Sadie's has lots of new spring products including this great Market Tote by Feed- the purchase of this cute everyday bag will donate 50 school meals. While stopping in for this tote check out some of the other great spring items just in. Don't forget the charity of the month is ...

Feeling Lucky

Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

Horoscope: Have a birthday between 3/13 and 3/24? If you stumble into a ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Maplewood Senior Center Holds Grand Opening on St. Patrick's Day

March 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Senior Center has been open on Burnett Avenue for several months and this past Saturday, Maplewood Township officials, many seniors and community members held a grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting officially dedicating the center.

As Saturday was the St. Patrick's Day holiday, the Senior Center celebration included green bagels ...

Maplewood to Hold Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 25

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Hop on down to Maplewood's Spring Egg Hunt! Maplewood will hold its 34th annual hunt on Sunday, March 25, from noon to 2 p.m. in Memorial Park.

An email from the Maplewood Recreation Department states to "please arrive promptly at noon with a basket or bag to make sure you don’t miss anything."

At last year's event, hundreds of kids ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, March 21, 12:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality


Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center, Conference Room A/B, First Floor, Livingston

Colon Cancer Screening Education Program at Saint ...

Health & Wellness

Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Boccone South, South Orange

A Taste of Italy

Food & Drink

Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Hundreds Cheer on Marchers and Bands at 67th West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Even a week’s delay caused by a massive snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowd of spectators who cheered on the marchers and bands who participated in West Orange’s 67th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

Wending their way up Main Street were more than 25 bands, including marching bands from northern New Jersey high ...

Members of Brick City Brims Charged for Alleged Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

NEWARK, NJ – Six members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang were arrested last week for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Union Animal Control Officer

March 17, 2018

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Springfield Residents Cope as Power Slowly Returns

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - As of Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. Springfield is showing outage of 2,677 or 25 percent, which is down from over 40 percent in the last two hours. It is also down from 68 percent at the peak. Union County at this point is over 20 percent of JCP&L’s statewide outages. Trucks are visible on Township streets with a caravan spotted on ...

Winter Storm Update from South Orange

March 21, 2018

New Jersey and Essex County has announced Emergency Declarations which South Orange will also have in affected March 21, 2018, 9 :00 a.m. Please move all vehicles from the road way to allow for the Department of Public Works (DPW) to clear the roads.

Village Municipal Offices, Library and the Baird Community Center will be closed.
Please see a detailed forecast and more information ...

Storm Advisory from Maplewood

Winter Storm Information – Tuesday, March 20, 2018 – 4:00pm

1) Emergencies – Please call 911 if you have an emergency. You can also call 973-762-1234 for a direct connection to a police dispatcher. Do not call the Fire Department or Public Works. Call the police at 911 or 973-1234.

2) Jitneys – The Maplewood Jitneys will operate ...

Summer Camp at Lightbridge Academy in Millburn

If you are looking for a fun-filled summer for your little ones, look no further!

Lightbridge Academy in Millburn is providing a summer camp program with tons of exciting guests, water play activities, and so much more!

Call us at 973-218-1800 to learn about what we have to offer.