BELGRADE — Since 2002, Clint Field, the owner of Big Box Fireworks has been setting up his stand in front of Whalen’s tire in Belgrade.
But now, city officials are thinking about making some huge changes that might force Clint to move his stand elsewhere and stop the community from using fireworks in town.
“If you saw Belgrade on the 4th of July, it takes your breath away,” said Field. “It lights up the whole skyline, it's amazing.”
“This year was my best year ever, I get a little choked up,” said Field. “I love this town and I would hate to see it change in the ways that a ban would make it change.”
Belgrade has had a noise ordinance on fireworks since 2003 that shortened the days fireworks could be sold and used. It went from 12 days to 5 days.
Director of community development, Jason Karp says after the 4th this year, the city received complaints from people concerned about fire hazards, terrified pets, and veterans who have PTSD. The city is now considering either reducing the days more, completely banning fireworks in town, or leaving the ordinance the way it is.
“It's not just one thing, it's several things and the perfect solution really isn’t out there,” said Karp. “You're gonna make one side upset no matter what you do.”
On august 22nd, the city council held a meeting at Belgrade high school to hear what residents had to say. Clint says out of the 100 in attendance, there were only 3 people who wanted an outright ban. There were another 11 that wanted to compromise the hours you can sell and use, but Field says firework stands have compromised enough.
“We already went from 12 to 5, but what do we get for the compromise?” said Field. “Just more compromise until it's only the 4th of July. What do you do if it rains and you spent hundreds of dollars and your family is in town and you can't light them off?”
Karp says the city is wanting to give people a final answer before New Years. He says the city is all ears when it comes to public input.
Fireworks are legal in Bozeman city limits for only two holidays a year, the 4th of July and New Year's Eve.
Fireworks are allowed in Bozeman from:
- Between 12:00 p.m. July 3 and 12:00 a.m. July 4
- Between 12:00 p.m. July 4 and 1:00 a.m. July 5
- Between 12:00 p.m. July 5 and 12:00 a.m. July 6
- Between 11:00 p.m. December 31 until 1:00 a.m. January 1
Note: There are restrictions within Bozeman City Limits about the types of fireworks and where you can set them off safely.