After lobbying from elected officials and a face-to-face meeting with Mayor Steve Noble, the state Department of Transportation has reversed a decision that could have squelched Kingston’s Fourth of July fireworks show.
The fate of the annual fireworks show has been in doubt since mid-May, when Mayor Steve Noble received a letter from the DOT informing him that the city would not be able to use the Route 9W bridge over the Rondout as a launching site for the pyrotechnics. Kingston law firm Mainetti, Mainetti and O’Connor sponsor the fireworks show and, since learning of the DOT’s decision, worked with city officials and business leaders to find an alternative before it was too late.
But on Friday, June 10 the state agency announced that it had reversed its decision, at least for this year, and would allow the bridge to serve as a launch site.
“NYS DOT has worked with the City of Kingston on a compromise for a special use permit for the Route 9W bridge which will allow this year’s July 4th fireworks to continue while addressing the Department’s safety priorities,” wrote DOT spokeswoman Gina DiSarro in an email.
Joe O’Connor of Mainetti, Mainetti and O’Connor said the agency relented following a meeting with Noble, Fire Chief Mark Brown, and the fireworks contractor. O’Connor said that Brown explained that the bridge was the safest launch site on the Rondout. O’Connor added that the DOT had also received requests to OK the fireworks from state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) and County Executive Mike Hein.
“They heard from a lot of people,” said O’Connor. “And the mayor got them to come, literally, to the table.”
The DOT granted the permit on the condition that the city shut the bridge down entirely from 6 p.m., when workers begin setting up the display, to 11 p.m. when the equipment is removed. The agency also indicated that the city should continue its search for an alternative site for next year.
“Alternative plans will be made by the city for future celebrations,” DiSarro wrote.
With additional reporting by Lynn Woods