SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — City leaders are unsure where South Pittsburg will host its annual Fourth of July celebration this year, but all agree that a decision needs to be made soon.
Mayor Jane Dawkins said last year's event was planned at Loyd Park, but it was rained out just a week before a major flash flood swamped the downtown and Richard City areas.
"It included the [city] pool and putting a little stage up there," she said. "We thought that would be a nice thing to have up there."
The celebration traditionally has been held at an area known as the Tennessee River park, just below the Shelby Rheinhart Bridge.
City Administrator Sammy Burrows said it appears the event will be held at the river park this year.
"The thing about Loyd Park is the lack of parking and the fireworks being so close to the houses," he said. "That is a concern, but I'll do whatever the board wishes to do."
Commissioner Jeff Powers lives near Loyd Park, which is at the base of South Pittsburg Mountain and surrounded closely on all sides by homes.
He said he was concerned about the danger of fire if the town set off fireworks so close to a mountainside.
"But a high-residential area is a concern, as well," he said.
Burrows said those concerns were echoed by several other people who live near the park.
The plans for the celebration at Loyd Park were "not an issue last year," Dawkins said, but "apparently, it is this year."
If it is held at the river park, Burrows said, city officials will need to secure a large, level area nearby to launch the fireworks.
"I haven't set a place or a time yet, so we can change to whatever the desire of the board is if they want to make a decision on that," he said.
Dawkins said residents should "stay tuned" until the board comes to an agreement on the matter.
"It'll be here before we know it," she said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at email@example.com.