City nixes annual fireworks show
By Wesley Gardner
The Lockhart City Council on Tuesday voted to prohibit Mayor Lew White from signing a proclamation that would have allowed the city to host its annual Independence Day fireworks show in July, effectively cancelling the event.
The decision came as cases of COVID-19 in Caldwell County spiked over the weekend, jumping from 87 cases on Friday to 157 cases on Tuesday.
Had the event been held, 350 vehicles would have been given one-way access to the show and participants would have been encouraged to social distance by remaining in or near their vehicles.
District 4 Councilmember Jeffry Michelson questioned how effectively city staff could enforce social distancing measures.
“I have a headache just thinking about it,” said Michelson. “How are we going to patrol this? I mean are we going to have the whole police force out there?”
White agreed it would be a challenge.
“We’re just going to have to ask people to abide by the rules,” said White.
“I know it’s going to be a challenge.
“I’m trying my best to give this community some type of normalcy and everyone I know still wants the tradition of the firework display and celebration. God knows we’ve taken away everything else in this community in the summertime.”
Mayor Pro Tem Angie Gonzales-Sanchez said that while she wanted to give the community something to celebrate, she wasn’t sure it was good idea to move forward with the show.
“I agree with you as far as giving the community something to look forward to,” said Gonzales-Sanchez. “This pandemic has been something way out of the park here, and it’s something we’re trying to work around, but with all the other local events – and I know the local events are a little bit larger than the Fourth of July – there’s still that bottom line of being conscious of our community. We’re still in a pandemic.”
At-Large Councilmember Brad Westmoreland echoed Gonzales-Sanchez’s sentiment.
“I know we’re trying to say let’s be positive in everything and paint this pretty picture,” said Westmoreland. “All the scenarios of making this thing work is just going to be – I won’t say a nightmare, but a real, real, real heavy challenge.
“Yes, we want to open up Lockhart again, but is this the time? I wish I felt good about it, but I just don’t.”
District 3 Councilmember Kara McGregor noted the difficulty participants might face being effectively stuck at the park for three hours while there only four bathrooms available.
“That’s a long time to expect kids to stay in or near their cars, and that’s a long time to expect people not to go to the bathroom,” said McGregor.
District 1 Councilmember Juan Mendoza noted the challenges, but said he was favor of holding the event.
“I think looking forward to something for community, not to gather, but to look forward to something would be great,” said Mendoza.
Michelson effectively ended discussion on the item, summing up his thoughts.
“I want this thing just as bad as anybody else, but on the other hand, I’m just scared of it,” said Michelson. “I’m just going to be honest … It is what it is.”
Councilmembers ultimate voted 4-3 against having the annual display. District 2 Councilmember Derrick David Bryant, Mendoza, and White cast the dissenting votes.
In other business, councilmembers voted to increase the city’s contribution to seven local nonprofits by 10 percent over the amount they received from the city last year.
In total, the increase adds roughly $34,000 in contributions from the city.
The nonprofits receiving funding include CARTS, they Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, Cenikor Foundation, Combined Community Action, Lockhart Area Senior Citizen Center, CASA of Central Texas and Caldwell County Christian Ministries.