Naples eyes ways to up Independence Day

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — There is the “Big Bang Theory.” Then, there is the belief that a bigger bang will draw an even larger crowd during the Fourth of July festivities.

Longtime resident and selectman Kevin Rogers recently recalled how, when he was growing up, Naples was the destination spot on Independence Day.

“People used to park in the morning to see the fireworks at night,” Rogers said during a Naples Board of Selectmen’s meeting on April 6.

He said that someone had commented on the amount of money they had spent on private fireworks, and it was less than what the Town of Naples budgets for its pyrotechnic display.

Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak asked if people are happy with the most recent fireworks shows. He later repeated he was curious to get feedback on what residents were saying.

“Atlas is a top company,” Paraschak said.

He asked for specific ways to improve the fireworks. He asked if there was a component, such as longer displays or more noise or something another town or state is doing, the board could make note of it.

“If we are going to put in more money, we want to get a bang for the buck,” he said.

Rogers responded, “No one is complaining.”

“This is one of the biggest moneymakers for Naples. Put extra money in the fund, make it better, so that people say, ‘Ooo and ah,’ and it puts us on the map,” Rogers said.

It was pointed out by Selectman Rick Paraschak that many local businesses donate funds for the Naples fireworks display, and the town pays about 50% of the cost.

In the past, the town has “contributed $3,000 to fireworks, but we had to pay for extra (Cumberland County) Sheriff’s deputies,” Selectman Dana Watson said.

Watson favored upgrading the barge used for the fireworks show since that is “like building the foundation first” before investing more money in fireworks.

Town Manager Paraschak said there is money set aside to purchase two more floating docks this summer.

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