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County backs Springfield fireworks show request
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Effingham County commissioners are hoping Springfield’s Fourth of July show goes on.

In a 6-1 vote Tuesday, commissioners approved a donation of $5,000 to the city to keep its annual fireworks show going.

Commissioners received a letter from Springfield City Council asking for support of the fireworks display. Businesses and other governments are also getting entreaties from Springfield to back the July 4 celebration.

“I’ve had people comment on what a worthwhile event it is,” said Commissioner Myra Lewis.

Ruth Lee implored commissioners to support the event and even suggested they take the $5,000 budgeted for new plaques at Veterans Park to put toward the county’s funding of Springfield’s request. Lee is chairman of the Veterans Park committee.

“It is a community event,” she said. “If you haven’t been, you ought to go. I urge you to do whatever you have to do to cooperate with the city of Springfield.”

Lee said she was surprised at the number of families that turn out every year at Effingham County High School to enjoy the fireworks in a safe environment.

“How often can you have an event like that in your county?” she said.

Commission Chairman Dusty Zeigler, the dissenting vote, said the fireworks display is more entertainment than it is recreation, the latter of which is something the county provides.

The city has received some private funding, County Administrator David Crawley said, but not nearly enough to cover the cost of the show. Springfield City Manager Brett Bennett told Crawley the city has received more private donations than in years past but “it’s just not a lot of money,” Crawley said.

The county’s support of the fireworks has ranged from nothing to more than $5,000 a year, Crawley added.

Effingham Industrial Development Authority CEO John Henry said he thinks his board will support the request.

“If capitalized properly, this can be an economic benefit,” he said. “I firmly believe there will be an economic impact.”