BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – An ordinance that basically reverts the city’s position on the use of commercial grade fireworks within city limits, is back in front of the city council on Tuesday.
A motion to approve a first reading that bans the use of first or second class fireworks within city limits passed unanimously on Nov. 5.
However, Fort Madison mayor Brad Randolph was not in attendance at the meeting. Randolph had suggested after hearing complaints from city residents, that the city revisit current code, which followed a two-year state law that allowed commercial use of fireworks for about 60 days each year.
Fort Madison Police Chief Tim Sittig and Fire Chief Joey Herren put together a new ordinance that reduced the use of the higher grade fireworks down to six days total around the Fourth of July holidays and the New Year.
That proposal was put in front of the council last week and Councilman Bob Morawitz made a motion to not allow any first or second class fireworks without a city permit. Low grade fireworks like sparklers, smoke bombs, and snakes are still allowed.
That motion was seconded by Matt Mohrfeld and passed unanimously to the appreciation of residents in attendance to hear the discussion.
The move needs three approved readings before it becomes part of city code. However, according to state law, the third reading can be waived with a majority vote of the council.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda is an approval to apply for an Iowa Department of Transportation Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for funding to help pay for another section of the P.O.R.T. city recreational trail.
The funding would be used for a section of the trail beginning at the intersection of 48th Street and a vacated portion of Avenue L, running north approximately 2,000 feet to the intersection of River Valley Road and 48th Street.
Phase 3 of the P.O.R.T. trail was to run from 48th Street to the pond at Fort Madison Community Hospital. The new section would provide a safer running area along 48th Street as no sidewalk exists south of the Bluff Road on 48th Street until south of the Fort Madison Middle School entry drive on the east side only.
At last month’s Boo-Athlon, P.O.R.T. committee Chairman Rachel Benda, indicated Phase 3 may be a two-part phase where another loop could be created that runs close to the Sunnybrook Assisted Living Center along River Valley Road and back south to FMCH, but she said those plans were only in the discussion stages.
The meeting begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.