MARQUETTE - The future of the Marquette Fourth of July fireworks display is up in the air, after the small group that annually plans the holiday show announced it is stepping down.
Speaking to the Marquette City Commission during public comment Monday evening, Jorma Lankinen, a member of the Marquette Area Fourth of July Committee, said the committee was giving up all responsibility for the annual fireworks display.
"I do want to make the announcement that the Fourth of July Committee is retiring this year," he said, just four days after the 2013 fireworks display lit up the city's Lower Harbor. "This was the last year that we did the fireworks - that was our grand finale we did for the city and we did not do any fundraising for next year. So there will be, hopefully, somebody else coming to the table to continue fireworks in our community."
If a new group steps up to fill the void, Lankinen said the former committee would be willing to offer advice on the "many moving parts" of organizing the yearly display.
"As of right now, we are wrapping up a few odds and ends," Lankinen said. "The three-member committee that has been there for many, many years has consistently asked to retire. This year, we all three decided to retire.
"We are stepping down and somebody else needs to take our place if they so wish."
During the commissioner comment section at the conclusion of Monday's meeting, city commissioners expressed hope that the void would be filled.
"It's not going to be the same in Marquette if somebody doesn't pick it up and I think this is the time we learn that these things don't just happen," Commissioner Don Ryan said. "There are volunteers in our community that make things happen."
Commissioner Mike Coyne said he appreciated the work the committee had done over the years.
"I would like to thank the Fourth of July Committee. They have a done an outstanding job," he said. "I'm saddened that you're resigning. I wish we could not accept your resignation, but that's not possible. Thank you very much for a great job."
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.