Glen Rose, relax and celebrate the Fourth of July — legally, of course.
After last week’s first-ever Glen Rose City Council vote to pass an ordinance banning possession as well as discharge of fireworks, an online uproar ensued.
The new Glen Rose fireworks ordinance (No. 17.06.12A) in its current form states, in part, that “It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, assemble, store, transport, receive, keep, sell, offer or discharge any fireworks of any description.”
Under the category of “Penalties,” the ordinance states that a fine of “not less than $25 nor more than $500” can be assessed for violations. The ordinance went into effect immediately after the vote that took place during the June 19 meeting.
But City Administrator Chester Nolen said Tuesday that no one should be worried about being pulled over and having their legally-bought fireworks confiscated.
The council voted for the ordinance by a 3-2 margin, but it will be on the agenda again for the July 10 council meeting — although that will be too late for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations.
“I think because of the discussion and consternation and the fact that it will probably be revised, I think law enforcement probably will be limited to people discharging fireworks in the city limits, based on complaints,” Nolen said. “We’re not going to be stopping vehicles and searching them for fireworks. Our policy will be that officers will be responding to complaints.”
Nolen said that law enforcement, whether it’s Glen Rose Chief of Police Buck Martin, or Sheriff Alan West’s deputies or Fire Marshal Mark Crawford, will use their own judgment — just as they do on other misdemeanor offenses such as speeding — deciding if a ticket should be issued, or possibly just giving a warning.
“It will be up to officer’s discretion,” Nolen said.
He noted that previously Glen Rose had only a fireworks “policy” — not an ordinance — and it actually only banned fireworks from city parks such as Oakdale Park and Big Rocks Park.
Crawford was out of the country on a mission trip until last weekend, so he was unable to attend the last city council meeting when the wording for the ordinance was being hashed out.
When Crawford was back at work this week and saw the uproar online, he responded with a lengthy Facebook post.
Crawford wrote, in part, “… I would not want someone scared to buy fireworks for their family because they thought we’d be waiting at the city limits to arrest them. So, I have called my boss, the county judge (Danny Chambers), and asked to be able to make a public statement that my office would not be enforcing this ordinance until it is resolved.”
Crawford continued, “I am a patriot and love fireworks as much and probably more than the next guy, and truth be known, would not ever write a ticket unless it was absolutely a disregard to public safety and a ticket was the only way to insure compliance. But I understand that I may not always be the fire marshal and the law needs to be written to cover as many angles as possible. I wished I could have been able to have made that meeting to clear up any questions on the intent or spirit of the law; and I appreciate the city council attempting to appeal to my desire for there to be something in place prior to the fourth.”
Crawford declined any additional comment, referring instead to the Facebook post.
Both Nolen and Crawford stressed that the ordinance is all about safety. One positive factor was the significant rainfall last weekend — approximately 5 inches in some areas of the county — that should help diminish the fire risk from fireworks.
Even if you don’t want to participate in shooting fireworks — outside the city limits, of course — there are also other traditional ways to join in the patriotic mood locally.
The Somervell County Water District’s seventh annual Independence Day Celebration and fireworks show will be held Tuesday, July 4 at the Wheeler Branch Reservoir north of town. The free fireworks show will begin at about 9:30 p.m., but that’s not the only attraction.
The Mike Daniels Band, featuring country rock, southern rock and blues music, will entertain the crowd will a live performance starting at 7 p.m.
Admission to the park will be free starting at 7 p.m. That day, until 7 p.m., the regular park admission for Somervell County residents is $4 for adults and $2 for GRISD students. Non-county residents will pay $8 for adults and $4 for students, up until the free entry time at 7 Tuesday. The park closes at 11 p.m.
The annual city of Glen Rose Hometown Dinosaur Capital of Texas Fourth of July celebration will be from 9 a.m.-noon around the square downtown. It will feature a parade and bike contest at 9 a.m., followed by games and activities starting at 9:30 a.m.
The Chamber of Commerce is inviting additional parade float entries. The check-in time for floats will be 8:15 a.m. Call the chamber at 254-897 for more information about entering a float.
American Legion Post 462 will be having a pancake breakfast on Tuesday from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Tickets are $5, available at the door or from any any American Legion member.