Lisle, Naperville still hopeful for July 4 fireworks
Leaders in Lisle and Naperville are holding out hope there will be Fourth of July fireworks in their towns, even as similar events are being canceled or postponed elsewhere due to COVID-19.
Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak said Thursday the village has two weeks to decide if it wants to reserve fireworks for a possible July 4 show. In the meantime, village officials are trying to find a suitable location after Lisle Park District said it won't allow a show in its parks.
"I'm certainly in favor of celebrating Independence Day in Lisle with a fireworks display," Pecak said.
Organizers of Naperville Salute, a Fourth of July festival that has been postponed until 2021, say they are proceeding with plans to shoot fireworks from Frontier Park at a higher-than-usual altitude to allow for more at-home viewing.
The sprawling park on the city's south side provides space for better socially distanced viewing than would downtown Naperville's Rotary Hill, said Salute co-chairman Warren Dixon. Organizers and fireworks vendor Melrose Pyrotechnics plan to seek permit approval from the city.
"We're going to proceed with that until we're told that we can't," Dixon said.
In Lisle, the biggest obstacle is finding a suitable location.
Community Park, near Route 53 and Short Street, covers roughly 110 acres, but park officials say they can't allow fireworks this summer at any district-owned park.
"Doing an event like that, in our (legal) counsel's opinion, is in clear violation of the state's stay-at-home order and Gov. (J.B.) Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan," Executive Director Dan Garvy said. "Those things are law. And if we knowingly and willfully violate the law, we're told we may not have insurance coverage if there's a liability claim."
Pecak said officials are trying to determine if some private lots and a village-owned lot could be suitable.
"Our point isn't to find a gathering spot," Pecak said. "We just need to shoot off fireworks in a safe location that can be seen from everywhere around."
Residents could view the fireworks from their homes and downtown restaurants could welcome visitors who could dine outside while enjoying the display.
Pecak said it's also possible Lisle could do something similar to Romeoville, which is celebrating on July 3 with three simultaneous fireworks shows in separate locations. It also could have the event later in the year.
Still, Pecak said he wants to make every effort to have fireworks in Lisle on July 4.
"We need to be nimble," he said. "We can always plan something and cancel it rather than give up on it early."