BOWIE – Due to a scheduling conflict with the Bowie Baysox, the city has announced it will not conduct a fireworks show this Fourth of July.
According to Una Cooper, a spokesperson for the city government, Bowie teamed up with the Baysox in 2012 to hold the fireworks show at Prince George’s Stadium after having conducted the display for decades at Allen Pond Park. The city changed venues because the park had become too small for the crowds that came out for the display.
But this year, Cooper said, the Baysox informed the city that because of games scheduled for Foruth of July weekend. With little time to find another site, the city decided to cancel this year’s fireworks display.
“This was an extremely disappointing turn of events for City officials who have hosted a Fourth of July celebration in Bowie for more than 40 years and who had been assured that the annual game schedule could accommodate a night for the City-sponsored celebration,” Cooper said. “After evaluating potential alternative sites and finding them lacking, the City has reluctantly made a decision to forego City-sponsored fireworks in 2015.”
Cooper said the city did not make its decision easily.
“Bowie fireworks have been a long-standing Bowie tradition and one of those special hometown events that we have treasured as a way to celebrate the founding of our great nation,” Cooper said. “We will miss hosting the celebration this year and are very sorry to disappoint our residents.”
The disappointment echoed throughout the city.
“Everybody here’s saddened by it,” said Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said. “I understand the challenge with major league baseball and their rules with Baysox. I’m disappointed…When we decided to make that move, one of the reasons we did is because they indicated that they would make that day available for us and unfortunately, Major League baseball came up with a different idea.”
City Manager David Deutsch said a number of reasons resulted in the city deciding to stop hosting a fireworks display at Allen Pond Park years ago that would remain problematic now: too many folks and security concerns with a number of non-Bowie folks who attended.
“The other concern, quite frankly is related to the need to protect our synthetic turf,” Deustch said. “We had a little bit of damage at Allen Pond Park because when you do fireworks, those embers go a wide area and even though we had it covered with the tarp, we actually had some damage, it burned right through the tarp.”
Robinson said the city tried a few other alternatives and tried to negotiate alternative days but none worked. Deutsch said city-sponsored fireworks with Baysox Stadium next year will depend on the schedule.
“The Baysox’s schedule for 2016 I believe comes out at the end of September for the following year,” he said. “So as soon as that’s available, we’ll check with the general manager. If it’s an open date, we would want to secure it and work it out.”
A list of fireworks displays taking place in the area is available on the city website,
City council receives presentation from Business Innovation Center
Also at Monday night’s city council meeting, Kiesha Haughton Smoots, managing director for the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) made a presentation about Bowie Business Innovation Center (BIC). Smoots, said she had two main objectives in her presentation: to make the city aware of what her organization is doing in the city of Bowie, and to get funding support from either and county or city of Bowie.
“I wanted them to understand the value that we’re bringing to their jurisdiction so that they can consider funding in the future,” said Smoots.
Smoots said her organization needs between $10,000 and $20,000 from the city “as soon as possible.” The funds would be allocated toward the overall program operations overhead in Bowie and employees salary. She hopes her proposal will be considered in the budget in the next fiscal year.
Councilmember Diane Polangin said she was “delighted” by the presentation from WBC and appreciates the value in the work of WBC and BIC.
“They’re working very hard,” Polangin said. “They’re getting the businesses off the ground. I’ve been there several times to see how the businesses work. I’ve done a class for them. I’m very proud of how they’ve really grown and I’m proud of bringing in the women business owners.”
Robinson also appreciated the presentation by Smoots and the other representatives on behalf of BIC. He thinks they’re “right on track” with their goals.
“What we’re trying to do is create more business opportunities and jobs and challenges and kind of watch these young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs move from shaky little beginners to seasoned professionals,” Robinson said.
Polangin said many women-owned businesses fail after their first year because they don’t have the proper support.
“They’re lulled into a false sense of security,” Polangin said. “And then they’re convinced to sell make-up and drive a pink Cadillac or whatever and they’re convinced that everybody’s going to be a director, make tons of money and they’re not.”