Marquette discusses moving fireworks to Memorial Day weekend


By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor


At Marquette’s July 15 council meeting, city clerk Sue Weipert informed the council that the city may have to consider holding fireworks on a different weekend other than Fourth of July weekend next year. Next year, she said, July 4 lands on a Saturday. As a result, shoot teams from J&M Displays, the company out of Yarmouth, Iowa, the city has contracted with for several years, are all booked up for July 3 and 4. Arranging an additional shoot team and equipment would result in a $20,000 cost for the city.


The city has also typically held its fireworks on the Saturday so as not to conflict with other local cities’ displays that are always held July 4.


“There are other companies out there,” said Weipert, “but it comes down to competing with other towns.”


Councilman John Ries suggested Memorial Day weekend as a possibility.


“It would be a summer kick-off,” he said, “and should get a good crowd. It’s tough to get a crowd when you’re competing with others. The water might be high, but we survived this year.”


While the council agreed it would be a good option, they asked Weipert to continue researching other shoot teams to see if the July 4 weekend fireworks could still be done at a reasonable price.


Nuisance abatement

Attorney Jim Garrett advised the city on possible options for getting rid of nuisance properties around Marquette.


The first step, said Garrett would be to determine if anyone is paying taxes on the property, or if it is abandoned. To move forward with demolition, the city would also need to have a good idea of the building’s condition. To do this, basic information would have to be gathered to the support the need for access in order to obtain an administrative search warrant.


“That would be easier to get than a criminal warrant,” explained Garrett. “Then you would bring along a contractor or engineer to verify the condition and problems.”


Once the city has assessed the property condition, Garrett said it could treat the situation as a municipal infraction of the city code, which would likely lead to small claims court, then on to district court. Another option, which Garrett said would be more preferable, would involve using the state code regarding dangerous buildings. This option, unlike using the city code, would potentially cover demolition costs.


“I’m not pushing to make it happen. I just wanted to know the process,” said city manager Dean Hilgerson, explaining that the structural integrity and safety of some properties is a concern.


Railroad quiet zone

Marquette has been in contact with the railroad about forming a quiet zone within the city. Since there are arms at the off ramp and casino crossings, there is a greater possibility it could happen there.


Timber Ridge Park

The council also discussed the idea of a park at Timber Ridge, prompted by a question from a citizen who was wondering how much money was set aside for the project.


City manager Dean Hilgerson said $5,000 has been set aside from timber sales and $25,000 has been budgeted this year, but the council agreed it would like a committee to form and create a plan before continuing.


Casino contract negotiations

Mayor Norma Mason said the city will meet with Eric Housler, of Isle of Capri, in August to begin contract negotiations regarding the Lady Luck Casino. Mason said a special meeting open to the public may be held. She also suggested forming a committee.

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