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Commissioners approve fireworks launch, safety site

The Nye County Board of Commissioners finalized the adoption of a designated fireworks launch/safety site at the Pahrump Fairgrounds during their regular meeting on Tuesday.

The action will allow for the public’s use of aerial fireworks at the site.

Additionally, local officials said the site could raise tens of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for the town.

Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said though he’s pleased his fellow commissioners approved the item, he noted the former Pahrump Town Board could have completed the same action long ago.

“It’s a good thing, but the town could have done this years ago,” he said. “I’ve been working well over six months with all the fireworks people here in town to put this together. We are working with Pam Webster, Darrell Lacy, Matt Luis as well as Fire Chief Scott Lewis on how to set everything up and do what’s necessary.”

Commissioners wanted to keep the process simple.

Local residents who want to legally celebrate Independence Day with fireworks must purchase a safety permit for $5 from any of the local retailers when shopping for their fireworks.

Schinhofen said the money from the permits will go to the fairground site on the far south end of town.

“We now have a revenue source to actually improve the fairgrounds,” he said. “The initial funding is $50,000 from the fireworks dealerships in town who each bought 10,000 safety permits at $5 each. Moving forward after we do the first weekend and the Fourth of July and see that everything is good, they estimate about $200,000 a year.”

Schinhofen also wanted to clarify the actual wording and function of the site.

He noted the venue should not be referred to as a “shooter’s site,” which he said had some local residents believing it was designed for firearms.

“This is a launch site or safety site, it’s not a shooter site,” he said. “I’ve already had some phone calls from people wanting to run the shooters site and that’s why we decided to call it the fireworks safety sight or a launch site. It’s for the aerial fireworks that you cannot shoot off in your yard.”

Before the new ordinance, local residents could purchase fireworks, but had to get them out of town within a specific period of time or face getting cited.

Doug Burda, owner of Red Apple Fireworks said this week, that his customers are excited about legally using fireworks in town this year.

“For a long time it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to allow people to purchase fireworks here and then have to get them out within 24 hours,” he said. “Now that has changed. I think it’s great that everybody was able to get together on it for sure.”

As a result of the amended ordinance, Burda said he expects to see very brisk business in the coming weeks.

“The last week of June is typically very, very busy,” he said. “Every year starts earlier and ends later. “This year it started way earlier than usual and I think it’s probably due partially to the change in the law and the news has spread very quickly.”

Casey Steinhart, regional general manager for Pahrump’s Area 51 Fireworks store also applauded the commissioners for their efforts in amending the ordinance, while noting its time has come.

He noted that he also hopes to see an increase in sales at his Highway 372 location.

“We made the first move last year where individuals could use ground-based type fireworks and now they are able to use all of them,” he said. “I hope we do see an uptick in sales but at the same time our ultimate goal is have a place that’s safe where people can go and enjoy themselves. At the same time, the safety fees are going to raise a lot of money for the county,” he said.

Efforts are now in the works to bring infrastructure to the 400-acre site, which is larger than Petrack Park.

Schinhofen said there’s much interest in the community to put on different events at the fairgrounds once all of the necessary work is completed.

“We are real close to having power out there and hopefully we’ll have that agreement next month,” he said. “Once that gets through, we will work on the water and sewer issues and within two years I hope we can have some events at the fairgrounds. We are working to get the BLM completely out of it where we don’t have to check with them every time we want to do something.”

During discussions, the chemical composition and testing of the fireworks were brought to light as a safety concern to the community, as was the type of weather when fireworks are being used.

Chairman Lorinda Wichman said the fire chief makes the determination whether fireworks can safely be used during certain weather conditions.

Steinhart told commissioners that the fireworks are routinely tested by a federal agency.

“The Consumer Products Safety Commission comes into our stores every year and tests a certain amount of the products to make sure they have the composition you were asking about,” he said. “They take a certain amount of products with them and they test not only that they work the way they should, but also the composition.”

Tuesday’s commission vote passed unanimously.

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