When I read about the efforts to bring the Pyrotechnics Guild International fireworks convention to Newton next year, I was reminded of the last time this organization held one of their huge fireworks shows here in Central Iowa in August of 1997. It was rife with problems.
First, the show started about an hour and a half late due to technical difficulties. But the biggest issue was the parking and traffic nightmare that occurred after the show ended around 12:30 a.m. There was no viable plan in place for how all those spectators would leave the area at the same time which resulted in everyone sitting in their vehicles for more than two hours waiting to exit the parking areas. I was there and it turned what was a mostly enjoyable experience into a bad memory.
I see there is talk of holding this convention at the Iowa Speedway. I’m sure everyone remembers the huge traffic problems that occurred during the first race that was held at the Speedway in 2007. It made for huge headlines and the problems were solved in the coming years.
While I am totally in favor of bringing this fireworks convention to Newton as it would be a huge boost to the economy for that day, I would also want all the city council members to make certain they remember the problems this company had in the past here in Iowa and that they incorporate any potential parking and traffic issues in the planning of this event to make sure this doesn’t occur if and when these folks decide to hold a show in our backyard.