There will not be a grand parade on the Fourth of July in Ludington after concerns were raised about a potential violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders as well as stretching the Ludington Police Department too thin during Monday’s Ludington City Council meeting.
Councilor Cheri Rozell asked City Attorney Ross Hammersley for clarification on the executive orders. As of Monday, the state limited public gatherings to 100 people in total.
“There unfortunately is no guidance that provides any sort of support for that characterization of groupings of people in certain locations as being separate events that aren’t part of the same overarching event,” Hammersley said. “And, unfortunately, I was not able to find anyone at the state who was willing to go out on that limb with me.
“I could very easily see an assistant attorney general… saying that you’re having one event and you’re having it in multiple, different places and stretching it out, but it is one whole event. I just, unfortunately, have not been able to find any support for a contrary interpretation, and I’ve been looking and not able to find it.”
Ludington Police Chief Tim Kozal reiterated a point he made at the city council meeting earlier this month about not being able to completely keep everyone safe from his standpoint.
“It would be difficult to try to manage the intersections and try to make it safe as (Councilor Angela) Serna brought up to try to keep these kids from going back and forth,” he said. “It would be very difficult on my end to manage it, even with the amount of personnel we have, we probably wouldn’t have enough using the county and using the state (police).”
Councilors were grateful for the work that the Ludington Area Jaycees put into crafting a revised plan. Ludington Area Jaycees President Angela Rickett said she appreciated the work of the council. The group will have goodie bags ready for kids to pick up at the group’s mini-golf site at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Ludington Avenue, and the group would be ready to assist in promoting a heroes parade composed of law enforcement, fire departments and first responders.
“We are happy to promote some sort of, any sort of route or information or timing, but I will just leave that to the chiefs and whoever else would need to be involved and possibly Heather (Tykoski), and we’ll coordinate on that,” Rickett said. “I think that’s an excellent solution.”
Rozell suggested having an entry with veterans from the American Legion post, too.
“Hopefully, by this time next year, we’re going to have the biggest parade we’ve ever seen because we’ve longed for one for such a long time,” said Ludington Mayor Steve Miller.
Rozell, Serna and Miller all addressed the potential for more fireworks to be lit during the Fourth of July holiday privately because of the cancellation of the Ludington Area Jaycee’s show this year.
Rozell requested Kozal to post the policy to the Ludington Police Department’s Facebook page as well as the city’s, while both Serna and Miller asked about stepped up enforcement of the ordinance.
“Please be kind and follow the time limitations and be considerate of the pets and those folks who are far more disturbed by those sudden starts and noise that perhaps don’t affect us,” Miller said. “And if you are planning on setting them off, be a good neighbor and let your neighbors know what’s coming in some possible fashion. If it disturbs them, please respect that also.”
The council, in July 2019, amended its ordinance to allow for fireworks from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on June 29 to July 4 and on July 5 only if July 5 falls on a Friday or Saturday. It also amended its ordinance for fireworks to be allowed near Memorial Day, Labor Day and on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.