FOREST CITY | The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors has given permission for a professional fireworks show to be shot from the courthouse grounds on New Year's Eve.
The supervisors voted on Dec. 18 to allow Pyro Pete's to shoot fireworks from the courthouse parking lot at midnight in conjunction with the Forest City Education Foundation's first annual New Year's Eve Gala, to be held at the Waldorf University Atrium.
Kevin Williams, building maintenance supervisor for the county, said he had some misgivings about discharging fireworks on the courthouse grounds.
"If a hot one hits the roof, it ain't going to be good," he said.
County Engineer Scott Meinders, who is also on the Forest City Education Foundation Board, said retail fireworks will be used in the display.
"It's not a humongous Fourth of July fireworks show," he said.
Supervisor Terry Durby said the height retail fireworks can reach is limited.
Williams said he's still concerned because of the gas lead and boiler on the south side of the courthouse.
"I can only think of about a dozen things that could go wrong," he said.
Williams said he would prefer the fireworks were discharged from the Waldorf parking lot.
County Auditor Karla Weiss said another possibility would be the parking lot of the now-closed Hardee's restaurant.
Durby said he trusts Tim Petersen, the owner of Pyro Pete's, "to be a qualified person to do it" and is confident he will take all necessary precautions.
Supervisor Bill Jensvold said he believes Petersen will discharge fireworks from as far west in the courthouse parking lot as he can.
He also noted Pyro Pete's is fully insured for $2 million.
"I would like to support the foundation and their work," Durby said.
Both Durby and Jensvold voted in favor or use of the courthouse grounds for the display. The third supervisor, Mike Stensrud, was not at the meeting.