A former member of the Keokuk City Council wants the city to prohibit the personal use of fireworks within city limits.
Dan Winn was serving as an At-Large Alderman last year when state lawmakers authorized the sale and use of explosive fireworks in Iowa. The city council, in response, established a new set of rules restricting fireworks within city limits.
According to the new rules, fireworks can only be used between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. during two periods throughout the year from June 1 - July 8 and December 10 - January 3.
- A person can only discharge explosive fireworks on their own property.
- Fireworks cannot be discharged on public/city-owned property without city permission.
- Fireworks cannot be discharged by anyone showing signs of intoxication/influence of drugs.
- Fireworks cannot be discharged within 50' of an occupied structure or near a large public gathering.
Winn said he understands that people used to shoot off fireworks within city limits when it was illegal to do so. But he said since it’s become legal to do so, the problem is much, much worse.
“In my opinion, and others, for many reasons including safety, fire, stress on pets, we have to medicate our dog nightly, and the noise,” said Winn. “that [fireworks] should not be allowed within city limits other than at licensed events like Rand Park or football games or special occasions where professionals are in charge.”
Winn said people continually stop into his coffee shop to voice their concerns about the fireworks in Keokuk, thinking he is still on the city council. He said that’s why he attended the most recent meeting, to express his concerns.
Mayor Tom Richardson said after the meeting that he expects the city council to consider changes to the ordinance. He said someone recently set off a firework near his home well after the 10:00 pm curfew for fireworks, so he certainly understands the complaints.
Richardson said the biggest challenge is enforcement. He said many times, people have stopped setting off fireworks by the time police officers arrived.
Currently, the penalty for breaking Keokuk’s rules for setting off fireworks is a simple misdemeanor with a fine of $250.