Split vote in Senoia means no band for Memorial Day fireworks

By W. Winston Skinner
winston@newnan.com
Senoia will be welcoming people from throughout the region for a big celebration of Memorial Day on Monday —but there will not be a band at the fireworks program.
The city is sponsoring a fireworks exhibition that will take place at dark at Marimac Lakes. The Senoia City Council is an unusually congenial and collegial elective body, but the members found themselves at an impasse over the subject of having a band at the fireworks program. At their final meeting for May, Councilman Maurice Grover broached the topic of having a band at the fireworks.
He said he had a friend who is in a band that performs frequently in the Peachtree City area. The band was willing to come to Senoia for what is usually paid for a sound system.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Grover said.
He said the band would play from 7-9 p.m. Someone from the band would get with members of the Senoia Downtown Development Authority to “go over a set list” of music for the event.
Councilman Jeff Fisher said it was important that any musical program be “conducive to family atmosphere.”
Mayor Robert Belisle expressed concerns that the city was moving in a different direction from prior decisions to even consider a band. He recalled conversations between the DDA and the council in which the council decided not to have vendors or entertainment at the fireworks.
“I wouldn’t mind having the band,” Councilman Larry Owens said, adding, however, that “to go against what you decided a month ago” was not a good idea.

“I love music, but we can’t keep flip-flopping back and forth,” Owens said at the meeting at the Senoia Magistrate Court building.

Grover said he did not feel the council had made a firm decision. He said he personally would not have been against having music. “I’ve always been in favor of that,” he stated.

Gail Downs of the DDA briefly recounted discussions about whether to have the fireworks at the ball fields or the lakes, relating that it had been decided not to have music or vendors this year.

“That was not our decision,” Downs said. “That was the decision of the mayor and council.”

Music and vendors have been a part of fireworks events when the displays were held at the ball fields in past years. At the lakes there is no electricity or lighting to assist movement after dark.

Fisher made a motion to have the band, which was seconded by Bobby Graham. Owens and Belisle voted in opposition, and Grover recused himself. The tie vote meant the motion failed.

Later in the meeting, the council approved closing of some streets for the Memorial Day events. Downs said the DDA was requesting “the same street closings we had last year.” That decision was unanimous.

Police Chief Jason Edens noted motorists will not be allowed to park along Highway 16 during the fireworks. He told the council the Georgia Department of Transportation is providing signs with a message to keep vehicles moving.

“That’s something we really are going to be focused on this year,” Edens said.



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