Petitioning Teen 'Thrilled' Bloomingdale Fireworks Are Restored
Mayor said fireworks are important in maintaining community pride in borough.
One year ago this month,14-year-old Brandon Bott, of Bloomingdale, set out on a mission to collect enough signatures from his friends and neighbors to present to the borough council members and change their minds about canceling the Bloomingdale Fourth of July fireworks.
His effort may not have restored the typically annual event last year, but the fireworks are back this year and Bott, who graduated from eighth grade Tuesday night, cannot help but think he had something to do with it.
"Everything I did was a lot and it's good to know that it's worth something," Bott said Wednesday.
The fireworks will be held on June 29 at 6 p.m. at the Walter T. Bergen School field, with a rain date of June 30. There will be rides, games and food in addition to the fireworks display at dark.
Last year, the council majority voted to cancel the fireworks in an effort to save the borough money. But several Bloomingdale residents, including Bott and a group of local teenagers, approached the council members, urging them to re-consider.
During election season, Democrats Ray Yazdi and John D'Amato campaigned with a promise to bring back events that were canceled, like the fireworks, if elected. Yazdi said Wednesday he is happy to have helped fulfill that promise since he has been elected.
"I’m very happy that we were able to get enough ‘yes’ votes to reinstate the fireworks this year and I'd like to thank all the residents who wanted this event back and voiced their opinion," Yazdi said, mentioning Bott and 17-year-old Melanie Ferrara, who read a statement to the council about how important town events are to the borough's youth.
"Collectively, we made this happen together and we should all take pride in bringing this event back to our town," Yazdi added.
Yazdi said the fireworks event will cost $5,000, which breaks down to about $2 per home per year.
Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy said that despite the cost, he feels that the fireworks display is an important event for the community.
"I completely understand the financial burdens on our community, but the fireworks are an important aspect of keeping community pride in our borough," he said. "The sense of community derived from such events are important to our town and our children, families and all residents."
Dunleavy said the event brings neighbors together with each other and their relatives.
"Especially in tough times like these, our residents can hopefully find time to relax, slow down and enjoy an evening with their families, neighbors and friends," he said.
Bott's sentiments echoed the mayor's and he said he is looking forward to being able to spend time with his friends at the event.
"I think it's a good way to get the community together," he said.
Bott's mother, Barbara Bott, said her son has been excited since he first saw the sign announcing the fireworks on Bloomingdale's Main Street.
"He's thrilled," she said. "I told him, 'Don't ever think that work like [the petition] doesn't go anywhere.'"