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Wadsworth man petitions to move firework display out of cemetery

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 18:16:51-04

WADSWORTH — It's a place where people come to pay their respects, and in Wadsworth, the Woodlawn Cemetery is a place for Fourth of July fireworks.

The city has held its firework show there since 2014.

Roy Boyes started a petition in hopes of the city moving locations.

“It’s a cemetery. That’s all it’s ever been. It’s not an entertainment venue," he said. “That’s not respectful.”

The petition has more than 250 signatures in support.

Standing by his parent's grave, he's been disgusted by the location of the city's firework show for years now, and said the debris from the fireworks could cause damage to the headstones and memorabilia laid out by loved ones.

Director of Public Service, Robert Patrick, said people have nothing to fear.

Fireworks are set off in an area away from headstones.

“It’s not on any grave sites. It’s an area that’s an actual dump site for the cemetery," he said. “So there’s no issues with any trampling of grave sites or flowers being damaged.”

Patrick said when the show goes on, the cemetery is closed. People cannot sit, walk or touch the graveyard.

The city has been working to find a new location closer to downtown, but safety codes have prevented them from finding another location.

Prior to Woodlawn Cemetery, fireworks were set off at a park nearby, until tree canopies became a fire hazard.

Despite hundreds in favor of moving the set off location, some in the city like the spot.

“My whole family comes over. Friends. Their whole family came over. We even had a guitar player last year," said David Tayor, who lives across the street from the cemetery.

Others said it is a way to honor the veterans buried there.

“There’s nobody more important than hollow ground," said Jack Ollum, a Wadsworth resident. "I think that I think it’s appropriate it’s appropriate that these folks who were once living and are now resting are included in our celebration.”

The city is looking for a new firework location, but there has been no luck so far.