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Batavia football fireworks plan fizzles

Organizer puts proposal on hold, may try next year

Batavia High School
Batavia High School

BATAVIA – Tom Gosselin of Batavia is keeping his powder dry, both literally and figuratively.

Gosselin ignited a storm of protest in June when he proposed launching fireworks during Batavia High School football games at Bulldog Stadium this coming season.

Now, Gosselin is putting his proposal on hold, hoping to let the atmosphere cool off and correct what he characterizes as misinformation that emerged on social media.

“I think the idea is to hold off and see what happens,” Gosselin said.

In June, Gosselin appeared before the Batavia City Council with a proposal to shoot off red and gold fireworks representing the team colors when the Bulldogs first take the field, followed by a red, white and blue display during the playing of the National Anthem.

After that, another round of fireworks would be ignited every time the Bulldogs scored a touchdown.

In the days that followed, aldermen said they were being flooded with telephone calls and emails from constituents opposing the fireworks plan.

“It’s a wall of no,” 3rd Ward Alderman Dan Chanzit said at the time.

Second Ward Alderman Marty Callahan, whose ward includes the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, reported many objections from residents concerned about noise.

So did 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff, who ironically is the play-by-play announcer for the BATV broadcasts of Bulldog games.

As the summer progressed, it became increasingly obvious that the fireworks proposal was not going to move forward, at least this year.

The Batavia City Council must approve a permit for the fireworks, which first requires that an application be submitted to the Batavia Fire Department, prior to undergoing the time-consuming process of votes at both the committee and full council levels.

While Gosselin has received fireworks training and certification, he has not submitted an application with the fire department.

Technically, the proposal does not require the approval of the Batavia School Board. At a meeting last month, board members declined to comment on the fireworks plan.

Gosselin said that objectors on social media were incorrect when they asserted that tax money would be used for the proposal.

In his appearance before the council, Gosselin told aldermen that anonymous donors were providing the funding for the first season of the fireworks, with the intention of turning over the program to the Batavia Bulldog Boosters organization after the trial run.

There would be potential for generating sponsorship deals, which could conceivably cover the cost of the fireworks and generate revenue for the Boosters, Gosselin said at the time.

Gosselin also seemed to be anticipating noise objections, telling aldermen that the fireworks would not be the same grade as those used during the Fourth of July display, launched neither as high nor generating the same sound level.

The launching tubes would be set up at a point about midway between Main Street and the southern end of the running track that circles the field, with the fireworks ignited remotely and shooting about 120 to 150 feet into the air, Gosselin said.

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