An Americaneagle Saves Our “Rockets’ Red Glare”


As reported in both local newspapers this week, the annual July 3rd fireworks display at Maine East High School is safe for at least another year, thanks to a donation from local website design firm, Inc.  And Americaneagle’s Tony Svanascini says next summer’s show will be bigger and better than ever.

Chalk up one very visible example of how a successful local business can give back to the community above and beyond the taxes it pays.  And even above and beyond – in Americaneagle’s case – the 140 or so people it employs. 

When we wrote about the petty politics that was threatening our annual pyrotechnic tradition (“When Politicians Play With Fireworks”, August 13, 2008), we noted that certain Park Ridge Park District commissioners reportedly were miffed that the City of Park Ridge seemed to be getting all the credit for that event.  So those commissioners – who readily turn a blind eye toward the red ink pouring out of other Park District facilities or programs, like the $80,000 or so each summer from the dead pool leaking at Oakton – became born-again fiscal conservatives and targeted the rockets’ red glare for a trimming.

But if we have our information straight, even though the Park District actually wrote the check each year for the cost of the fireworks portion of the show, the Park District was being reimbursed for that cost by the City of Park Ridge.  One way or the other, adding, Inc.’s donation to the equation means that either the City or the Park District just found $18,000 more in next year’s budget. 

Meanwhile, Americaneagle’s private contribution to this event – along with the contributions of our tax dollars by the City, the Park District and School District 207 (through Maine East), and an $8,000 contribution (public/private?) from the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society – causes us to inquire once again about why the Park Ridge Kiwanis Clubs purportedly gets an “exclusive” food concession deal for the event, especially without any known contribution by them to the cost of the event?

We reiterate that we’ve got nothing against the Kiwanis, but if the taxpayers continue to fund a substantial part of the fireworks show that enables the Kiwanis to fundraise on an “exclusive” basis, we think that, at the very least, the Kiwanis owes those same taxpayers answers to the following questions: (1) How did they get an “exclusive” deal?  And (2) What kind of profit, if any, do they make off the show?  We also think it would be a fine gesture for them to produce a financial report documenting the revenue and expenses they generate from this event.

We suspect that these questions and request will provoke comments similar to those raised in response to our August 13 posting: that the Kiwanis does so much good for the community that it’s an insult to ask them such things.  

But before anyone talks about insults, maybe they should first explain why the Kiwanis Clubs appear to be the only net “takers” from among the array of net “givers,” both public and private, each Independence Day?