WINSLOW — Councilor Cathy Nadeau has a concise outlook on consumer fireworks.

“Not in my town,” she said. “I don’t want the use of them, and I also don’t want the sale of them here in Winslow.”

The issue will be the subject of a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers. Later, the council will consider a moratorium on the sale of fireworks in Winslow.

Beginning Jan. 1, it will be legal to sell, possess and use consumer fireworks in Maine. Individual municipalities, however, have the right to enact ordinances prohibiting the sale or use of fireworks, as has been the case in Augusta, Bangor, Portland and Winthrop.

The public hearing in Winslow is an opportunity for residents to comment on the proposed moratorium, Town Manager Michael Heavener said. Afterward, the council will vote on a first reading of the moratorium.

Regardless of the council’s decision, the use of fireworks will be allowed in Winslow beginning at 12:01 a.m. Jan 1. Moratoriums only address land use issues, Heavener said.


“It would only temporarily prevent the sale of fireworks, but during that time period, the council could consider both the sale and use of fireworks,” he said.

The issue of sales is pressing, Nadeau said. Recently, the owner of a pyrotechnics company in Hallowell explored the possibility of opening a retail fireworks store in Winslow. The proposed site of the store worries Nadeau.

“The location of that business would be pretty close to a neighborhood — a very big neighborhood,” she said. “And, you know the same thing that happens with beer is going to happen with fireworks. Kids will ask someone of age, ‘Will you go buy me some?’ Then they’re in the wrong hands.”

Steven Marson, president of Central Maine Pyrotechnics, is developing plans to open six retail stores in Maine, including Winslow. He has been invited by Heavener to speak at the public meeting.

Marson said has operated his “display fireworks” company in Maine for 25 years and last year, Central Maine Pyrotechnics performed fireworks displays in 225 towns throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Lately, Marson spends about three nights a week meeting with municipal governments to discuss issues surrounding consumer fireworks, he said.

Marson hopes to open a store in Winslow, but he wasn’t always a supporter of the new state legislation.


“I wasn’t jumping up and down for them to allow the use of (fireworks) in the Maine, but once they went and did this … I’m a businessman. It’s an opportunity. I have all the licensing that’s required to open stores. I’m a licensed importer by the federal government of explosives,” he said.

Enacting ordinances in individual towns isn’t going reduce the use of fireworks, he said.

“People shouldn’t think for a minute that people aren’t going to procure them from some other municipality and bring them to some other location, whether it’s Winslow, Augusta, Bangor, Portland or all these towns that have banned them. (Fireworks) have been going off for 40 years under a law that didn’t allow them,” he said. “It’s the same thing as when they had the prohibition on alcohol. People still got it.”

Marson said his proposed business would create three full-time positions and three seasonal jobs in Winslow.

Nadeau said the economic argument for a fireworks store is beside the point.

“For some people, business is business, and it doesn’t matter what they do if they’re generating money. But it’s not. It’s generating a problem in our town,” she said.


Nadeau said some councilors are opposed to a moratorium, and the vote could go either way.

“I’m not really 100 percent sure,” she said.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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