Fireworks show worth keeping
By Northwest Florida Daily News editorial board, Jan 8, 2017
Destin, FL-There’s an old saying, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” It appears relevant in the brewing showdown between HarborWalk Village management and the Destin City Council.
To wit, in the Reader’s Digest version of this saga the Destin City Council seems to have zeroed in at the beginning of the new year with a mission to limit the number of fireworks shows at HarborWalk during the summer.
We could venture that there are far more pressing city issues facing new Mayor Scott Fischer and council members, but this debate is heating up faster than a 4th of July celebration. And it has the aroma of a bull’s-eye centered on Peter Bos, the architect of Legendary Inc., who among his vast development projects along the Emerald Coast is HarborWalk Village and its centerpiece, Emerald Grande.
A personality debate, though, is a discussion for another day. However, we do question what many in our neck of the woods considers an attack on the tourism industry. Why?
There is no question the region’s economy would dry up like a raisin without the millions of tourists that come to experience our piece of paradise. They are the high test in our gas tank, all we have to do is keep the engine serviced properly, which means providing visitors with great accommodations, great food and drink, affordable ways to enjoy the water and amazing activities during their stay.
In our view, the weekly Red, White & Blue Heroes Celebration is an activity worth keeping. It honors local heroes and military veterans while also helping to draw multitudes of tourists to HarborWalk for the fireworks display of five or six minutes over East Pass. Then they continue enjoying their evening with activities along Florida’s longest boardwalk or at the fabulous harbor eateries.
Seems simple, a win-win, but apparently these 10 shows on Thursday nights during the summer tourist season have become a lightning rod for Destin City Council.
In a detailed Daily News story by staff reporter Tony Judnich, the chief operating officer for HarborWalk Hospitality, Bruce Craul, said that removing the fireworks show is “kind of like telling people you can’t have turkey on Thanksgiving.” Mayor Fischer noted, “Residents can’t sleep and they can’t drive on Thursday night (in the summer). They have the right not to have their lives disrupted.”
Destin is a tough place to get around during the summer tourist season, we agree. But it isn’t only reserved for Thursday nights. If this city’s biggest problem is a fireworks display, then we say life must be awfully good.