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Church fireworks get go-ahead in Dardenne Prairie

A May fireworks display to be put on by Morning Star Church, 1600 Feise Road in Dardenne Prairie, has been given the go-ahead after city officials found out who would set off the fireworks and how long it would last.

The display is planned for May 5 with a rain date set for June 30.

The city’s Board of Aldermen opted to approve the church’s permit request on Feb. 17 after learning that the display will be operated by Archer Heibel, an O’Fallon resident and state licensed fireworks display operator.

The permit had requested a full-hour for the display marking a “third anniversary” at the church. But Heibel said in a note to the city that the display won’t be longer than 15 to 20 minutes.  He said the hour will allow time to deal with any technical difficulties.

Heibel wrote in a note to the board that the church has “not had any complaints from the neighbors but a lot of compliments.” That comment contrasts with what Alderman Elliott Stipes [Ward 1] said at the board’s Feb. 3 meeting.

Stipes, who said he was a member of the church congregation, told the board that he was concerned about the lack of city guidelines for fireworks displays.

“I’m concerned about the precedent of having routine fireworks displays throughout the year by nearly any entity,” Stipes said. He added that the church’s display at midnight on Jan. 1 lasted 45-minutes to an hour and that the display was a “nuisance” to nearby Bainbridge Subdivision residents. He said residents complained that dogs going crazy and the noise keeping children awake.

At the Feb. 3 meeting, Stipes suggested that the city might limit the number of displays by any one group or organization. He also said the city needed more information on the length of the church’s display and who would set off the fireworks.

At that same meeting, Mayor Dave Zucker said he was surprised the city approved a Jan. 1 fireworks display, adding that he didn’t remember the board doing that.  “We approved a midnight fireworks display on New Year’s Eve?” he asked. Aldermen said the board had approved it. “That means we didn’t read the paper work,” he said.

Stipes offered several motions at the Feb. 3 meeting to table the permit to get answers.  Zucker also suggested that Stipes or the board make some suggestions on fine-tuning the city’s regulations; however, the board didn’t take any action on new guidelines at its Feb. 17 meeting.



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