Patton, club reach fireworks compromise

Residents and visitors looking forward to the oohs and ahhs of the Slovak Club’s annual Independence Day fireworks show in Patton won’t be disappointed this year.

Thanks to a compromise on Borough Council, a $1 million bond requirement was reduced to just $500 during a special meeting Thursday so the club could continue to prepare for its Fourth of July show.

Club trustee Richard “Dickey” Weakland said he was pleased with the outcome and thankful the bond is refundable – as it represents a sizable cost on top of the $6,000 show.

“It was pretty much a good thing for everybody. Everyone came together,” he said. “We pretty much filled the council room up.”

The trouble started a few weeks ago when borough officials moved to enforce an ordinance passed in 2011 that was largely ignored until this year.

The rule required would-be show hosts to provide two types of liability coverage: $1 million in insurance and a $1 million bond.

The Slovak Club contracts with Carrolltown company Starfire Corp., which carries a $10 million insurance policy that would cover itself, the club and the borough.

But the law is the law, Mayor Gary Ceschini said, and $10 million in insurance wasn’t going to be sufficient without the bond under the ordinance.

Ceschini did not return a call for comment, but Weakland said dozens of people packed council chambers Thursday looking for compromise.

Weakland said he felt it was community pressure that pushed council to make the call to temporarily amend the ordinance.

“It’s a little cliche, but it was like the powers of the people showing up and doing what they had to do to keep something good in Patton,” he said.

A long-term solution is in the works, Weakland said, and he hopes the club will be a part of those discussions.

“Everybody came away with a better feeling about the whole thing. It wasn’t ugly at the end,” he said.

Fireworks will be set off at dusk on July 4.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.