THREE FORKS — Trash and discarded fireworks at Three Forks Ponds following the July 4th celebrations in the city were cause for concern Tuesday at the city council meeting.
Former mayor and City Council Member Gene Townsend said he was upset by the mess left behind by revelers at the city park.
“The thing that is really bugging me is the mess they made out at the ponds and I mean along the trail and the ponds," he said. "There’s paper and there’s fireworks and I thought we had an understanding with those people."
Townsend noted that he has been out to the ponds to pick up papers which are still blowing around.
Mayor Steven Hamilton said that the city spent half a day cleaning up.
“Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s tax payer money,” said Hamilton.
Townsend also said that the city ordinance says that fireworks are not allowed in city or state parks and that the Ponds is a state park.
“It’s a nice place to put them off, but I mean last year they burned up the dumpster,” said Townsend.
“And this year too,” chimed in Crystal Turner, city clerk.
The concern about the dumpster is that should this continue, there may be costs associated with replacing them down the road. Townsend wants to do something to change the trend, though had no immediate solutions.
“I don’t know what the answer is,” he said. “I caught hell one year for canceling fireworks and a lot of people are still mad at me about that.”
Still Townsend wants to make sure this is an issue that is dealt with.
“I used to think Fourth of July was as great as Christmas,” he said. “It just, you know, it used to be a few kids setting off firecrackers. Now if they set off a firecracker, it’s a pack of 500 and they go on for two minutes before they quit going off and I think it’s something, while it’s fresh in our minds, in a couple of weeks, I’ll get over being mad and the mess will be gone but I mean the dumpster is still burned up and thank God we haven’t had anybody hurt…I would like to keep it on the front burner.”
Posting further signage to curb the litter was offered as a solution.
“I would be all for that,” Council Member George Hamilton said of the signage.
Another solution offered was to extend the days allowed to set off fireworks so that children could get it “out of their system.” Council Member Dennis Nelson chimed in at the end of the discussion, saying that the city was simply going to have to put together a team to clean up the parks.
“You can’t legislate stupidity and you can’t legislate irresponsibility,” Nelson said. “So there’s no sense in trying to change our ordinances. We can signage the hell out of it and nothing is going to happen because people don’t care. The only thing we need to do is to put up a clean-up committee of about 10 people to go out there…”